Sunday, February 28, 2010

Looking Unto Jesus – Not Our Faith

The last device of the adversary,

when he cannot make us look elsewhere,

is to turn our eyes from our Savior to our faith,

and thus to discourage us if it is weak,

to fill us with pride if it is strong:

and either way to weaken us. 


Looking Unto Jesus, translated from the French of Theodore Monod by Helen Willis

Photo: freefotouk

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mother of Six?

 Christmas 09

As of March 1st, I will officially be mother of six!  No, I’m not pregnant with quadruplets, but we do have the joy of dorming my three nephews and niece as their parents move into a new ministry in a remote tribal location. 

We are inspired by this family and their collective desire to sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel, part of which requires them to be separated for much of the school year. 

We are also glad that we are here to do all we can to help them through this difficult adjustment.  We would really appreciate your prayers for them and for us as we head into this new reality!  They need God’s grace and strength as they say the very difficult goodbyes and adjust to their new homes!  We need wisdom to be sensitive to the needs of our new “kids” as they go through this transition.  

I have great hopes that this will be a special season for my nephews and niece, full of good memories of their time with us.  More than that though, I pray that many people will come to know the grace found in Christ our Savior because we all have willingly given our lives, preferences and comfort for His glory! 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

You Fit

The voice comes out of nowhere, stealth belying it’s powerful cruelty.  “You don’t fit here!” 

At first, I’m confused, then incredulous that I should feel this way now, here in the midst of my own people.  But I still listen and believe and four little words derail an entire week. 

As  a missionary woman, I’m prepared to feel different when I arrive to a new country and culture.  It’s just stating the obvious to say I don’t completely fit here (yet).  As much as I work to become all things and strive to adapt to my new home, I know it just takes time.  So, I wouldn’t be injured if that’s what the voice was referring to.      

But it’s not.  No, it’s condemning me now, while I’m spending a week at our mission base, surrounded by my own countrymen.  I’m caught completely off guard by the echoes of “You don’t belong”.  I never expected to hear them here.       

(Lest one of my dear coworkers read this and wonder if something was done to make me feel this way, let me just state very clearly that no one did anything unkind or said anything thoughtless or was anything but gracious to me.)   

I let four words reverberate in my mind, pierce my soul.  With surprising speed they multiply, accusing me with increasing disdain.   

“You’re spoiled!  You have a dryer.  Everyone else uses a clothesline.”

“You’re frivolous!  You love to shop and wear high heels and dangly earrings.”

“You’re selfish!  You don’t enjoy your children as much as she does.”

“You’re soft!  You can’t endure a few hours of heat for the chance to visit with friends.”

“You’re shallow!  You spend too much time thinking about how to make your house beautiful.”

My soul is painfully crippled and I am exhausted from repeatedly telling myself that these things are not true, when all the while I fear that they really are. 

My soul needs true revival, not a pep talk, so I go to the words of life.  This time the voice I hear is His.     

“Oh child, you BELONG.  I chose you.  It brought me great pleasure to bring you to myself through Christ.  You are my masterpiece!  You fit in me. 

I carefully chose you, with your unique interests and gifts, to be a part of my body.  I put you where I want you, high heels and all.  It pleases me to see you doing the special work you were created to do.  You fit in my body, child.

And you are neither spoiled, frivolous, selfish, soft or shallow.  I never think that when I think of you.  My voice rises above all others to declare you Holy, Blameless, Complete, Accepted and Loved.  Will you listen to me?  Will you believe me, child?”

“Yes, Lord!,” I cry.  “I believe!  Help my unbelief!”  The condemning voices fade and I’m free. 

**As painful as it is to admit that I wasted so much joy last week, I know that there is nothing new under the sun.  I hope that sharing my experience will encourage someone else who is wading their way through a murky mess of lies.  There is never joy in comparing ourselves amongst ourselves, because we are such ignorant judges.  The only One that can declare the truth about us sit on high and has already made it abundantly clear.  We fit.** 

Scripture: Ephesians 1:3-8, 2:10, 2:21-22; I Corinthians 12:18-20

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hidden Gifts Found through Praise

Purple Flower

The more I praise God for all His gifts, the more my heart ascends to a place of exhilaration.  I am changed, and He is glorified, when acknowledge how frequently, consistently, and deeply His fingerprints dot the landscape of my life. 

Sometimes, like this past week, His handprint at first seems misplaced in the uncomely, the undesirable and I am blind to see how these things can be gifts.  So I am thankful to be on this journey of a 1000 gifts because

the looking leads to finding,

the finding leads to praising, 

the praising leads to glorifying, 

and the glorifying leads to exhilarating

in Him, my greatest gift.


Continuing to count the ways He blesses me:

83.  A home that feels like us.

87.  Raspberries.

90.  My failures and how they reveal areas in my life that need transformed.  

94.  God’s word – my soul’s reviver.

102.  Christ is coming soon!

104.  Being literate and the luxury of having affordable literature available in my language. 

108.  Measuring, dumping and baking with my sous chef, Darling Little Redhead, and all the I love yous that ensued. 

112.  Sweeping and time to think. 

114.  Quiet talks in the night. 

117.  Protection of my children – we found a black widow this week in one of their toys!

128.  I have been brought near to God through Jesus. 

130.  Rain and the way life bursts forth in flowers. 


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Looking Unto Jesus – and Not at Our Doubts

Looking unto Jesus and not at our doubts.  The more we look at them the larger they appear, until they can swallow up all our faith, our strength and our joy. 

Sun & clouds

But if we look away from them to our Lord Jesus, who is Truth, the doubts will scatter in the light of His presence like clouds before the sun. 

Looking Unto Jesus, translated from the French of Theodore Monod by Helen Willis

Photo: shannonc5

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fall Like Rain

Rain Drops

Oh God, as your truth falls on my heart,  let it be to me a sweet rain.  Welcomed.  Savored.  Soaked up.        

Leaf Reflection 4  

For you are my Living Water, and your truth births fruit in the dry and desolate places of my soul. 

Duet. 32:2, Hebrews 6:7, John 4:14

Monday, February 15, 2010

Partying in the Capital and the Praise Goes On

We are in Asuncion this week for meetings, shopping…and a very special SURPRISE birthday party for three of our co-workers, turning 40, 50 and 6o respectively!   

 Plate birthday

I had the joy of decorating for the party!  The colors were black and white with red accents. 

White Flower 

I love how these giant peonies hanging from the ceiling turned out…there were red ones too.  I know you can get them pre-made in the US, but it really wasn’t too hard to make from scratch, just took a little time (but well worth it - I will definitely make them again). 

Gift Table

The gift table centerpiece, just empty boxes wrapped up pretty!  The fabric in the frame flanking it is leftover fabric from a skirt! 

Peony on Wall

Just had to prove there really were some red accents!  :)

Birthday circles

These were to go in the food, but that didn’t quite work out so I just put them on the wall.  Flexibility is key when you are making your decorations five hours away away from your party destination!  :) 

So you can see I have lots to be thankful about this week!  Time to keep giving praise to the Blessed Controller of my life.  I am so thankful for:

54. Chocolate Dipped Croissants in the capital

55.  Absolutely no scarring to my optic nerve and a great report from my eye Dr.

56.  New co-workers and their courage

57.  Pain and the way it reminds me to think of others

61.  El Principito saying thank you in his little baby voice

64.  Ironing and the pleasure I get from removing wrinkles

67.  Raspberry jam found! 

69.  That God is faithfully showing me areas where I am NOT thankful so I can change

71. Excuses to decorate

73.  Polka Dots and the way they bring a smile to my face

74.  People who keep loving even when it hurts and the inspiration they are to me



Monday, February 8, 2010

Grass Blowing in the Breeze


Grass rustles in the wind and the praise goes on.    


Thanking the Giver of all good gifts for: 

11.  Grass waving in the breeze at sunset, catching the last snatches of light

19.  The way his laughter diffuses any tension

24.  Mud puddles and the joy they bring to little boys

27.  Convictions reaffirmed

30.  Little voices reciting Psalm 23

36. Darling Little Redhead’s reminders that we must cuddle first thing every morning (but how could I ever forget?)

44.  Peaches and cream in Grandma’s blue glass and reminders of her love

Broken Wings

48. Butterflies that fly with damaged wings (Oh, how I see God’s redemption of my life in them!)



Sunday, February 7, 2010

Looking Unto Jesus – Not Our Weakness


By lamenting our weakness,

have we ever become more strong? 

Let us look to Jesus,

and His strength will communicate itself to our hearts,

His praise will break forth from our lips.

Looking Unto Jesus, translated from the French of Theodore Monrod by Helen Willis

Photo: glendali

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Plagues of 2010

Every time it rains here in the Chaco, we get a new wave of bugs.  So far the worst was the plague of beetles that decided to make our porch (and air conditioner) their graveyard, leaving the stench of death everywhere! 

Funny Grasshoppers

Yesterday these funky grasshoppers meandered onto our porch.  They are certainly the most interesting bug to visit us after a rain.  They move really slowly and stay together in groups.  I took this picture after I saw them from my kitchen window all circled around like they were having a big powwow. 

Thought you’d like a little peak into my buggy world!  After all, doesn’t every missionary have a bug story?     

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Mundane Reborn as Worship


It’s not just another pile of laundry…

Pile of Dishes

or another stack of dishes. 

It’s so much more for women who follow Jesus.  Every laundry basket and kitchen sink becomes a heavenly altar, just waiting to receive our acts of worship, our acceptable sacrifice to the God of the universe.  

I long to know that what I do all day actually matters.  Yet no matter how many inspirational quotes I read about the importance of being a stay at home mom, no matter how many times my husband tells me he appreciates me, I occasionally still find myself resentful and grumbling about having to put the baby’s board books back on the shelf AGAIN.  

It’s become pretty obvious to me that the only way I can maintain any long term passion for this job is to see each moment of my day as an opportunity for worship.  Dirty nose needing wiped?  “God, this is for you!”  Peanut butter sandwich needing to be cut into triangles (squares won’t do!)?  “Yes, Lord, thank you that I can serve you!”  Superman’s cape needing reattached, “Oh God, my hands work for you!”

It’s nothing revolutionary, perhaps, but for me the simple act of speaking the truth changes my attitude about the mundane.  Somehow laundry and dishes become almost desirable when they are reborn as opportunities to offer praise to God, my Strength!   

And yes, I do need to say it over and over all day long because when I don’t, I forget.  I forget that this is holy work and suddenly all I see are the dirty diapers waiting to be taken out to the trash, the leftovers needing to be put away and the toys strung from one end of the house to the other.  I forget so quickly that these routine things have the capacity to be transformed into something with eternal value – the worship of the only true God.        


I’ve decided to join Ann’s Gratitude Revolution so here’s the start of my list of a thousand gifts: 

1) Truth – that it renews my mind and that it’s available in my language

2) Unexpected Hugs

3) Honey, Darling Little Redhead and El Principito…all producers of laundry and dishes…and opportunities to praise God!  :)

4) Pancakes made with my sous chef, Darling Little Redhead

5) Wood puzzles with the baby and barking giraffes

6) A husband who cooks and cleans when I am unable (both with my eye crisis and again this weekend when I cut my hand and had to get five stitches)

7) Family on the mission field and our weekly dinner and game night

8) Nephews and Niece who love playing with my boys

9) For friends who accept me as I am

10) For Skype and email to communicate with family back home


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