"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Every once in awhile I just get this “whatever” for myself, for others, for whomever and whatever, to understand/remind what our blog is about. And I see that some of the other bloggers I regularly read do it too, so I don’t feel so bad when I do!

Sometimes our blog is completely personal-sharing our griefs and losses, our frustrations, our growth in knowledge on something, our questions, our “things that make you go hmmm”…most often it is just speaking what the Lord is laying on our hearts or firing up our souls about. A lot of times it is a thought that strikes us, and more often than not it is questions we have that we don’t know how to answer. Sometimes a situation or circumstance happens and we just want to rant and rave! It is then that I most often pray for discernment. Do you want me to say this in public Lord? Is this for anyone else but us? Is this for now, is this for later? We will often write something and then sit on it. We sit and hope that the situation will change for the better so we don’t have to post it, but really, deep down-we know it is going up sooner or later.
I mean, everyone likes being liked. And sometimes we say things that someone might find offensive. There is this line of discernment and the fear of man. It’s easy to say “you can’t make everyone happy all the time” or “you can’t make everyone like you”, but then when you feel led to say and act on something that may make someone unhappy or not like you or they would consider offensive, then it’s a little harder to put out there.

Once I put something like this on my facebook page:
“When you tell the truth, you are usually the one who is ostracized.”

I got many insightful comments back. Things like:
-Jesus said it would happen, but it doesn’t make it any easier!
-The truth sets you FREE.
-The reality is others are mad at the truth, it isn’t necessarily you.
Seems like many people could identify and agree with where we were coming from!

So here’s some more truth-you don’t ever have to read what we write. Really, I haven’t discovered the magnetic pull on the World Wide Web to draw everyone to our site. (And I don’t want to!) No matter what we say (or don’t say), someone out there is going to read more (or less) into what we are saying-they are going to wonder what we know that they don’t, or what kind of dots we are trying to connect that they don’t see, or that it was written about them, or this situation or…etc. etc. I just commented to someone that maybe she didn’t want to do something so she wouldn’t have to “police” the comments that she got so there is no offense. But then I said it’s not like we can really prevent it anyway!

Someone once told us we have way more influence than we know. Yeah, right I think. But really, WE ALL DO. Our words and our lives impact way more people and situations than we could ever know-really-YOURS DOES; ours is just a little more public. When I look on my some of our analysis and see where in the world people have come to our blog from and the search words that get them there, I think Wow-God can use people, what they say, WORDS- in amazing ways. When someone enters a word or phrase or question in the “Google,” it may catch a word of ours and send them to our site. They could read and be touched by something they weren’t planning on finding. And I don’t say that in a prideful way, because I think a responsibility comes with that; at the same time we do write hoping that our faith journey will have an impact, somehow-some way on others.

The point of what we say is (usually) to make you think just as it has us. We don’t seek to bring condemnation by any means, but sometimes we do feel called by God to be used, along with His Holy Spirit, to bring about conviction. All we are doing is giving opportunity for you to read, discern and pray (or leave if you want!). If there is condemnation, that is neither of God nor what we seek-so throw out the devil’s lies or they will destroy you! If there is conviction, seek out the Holy Spirit and hear and do what God is calling you to. And if you are not sure, throw us back a comment so we can hear your thoughts, ask more questions or help answer some.
Sometimes the words just flow and we go back and say whoa—sometimes we struggle with what we are to post because we are convicted ourselves and we know in the flesh that someone isn’t going to like reading it. We fear man’s reaction (rejection?). But we are even more fearful of GOD and the consequences when we don’t follow after His leading.

So this blog is about our personal journey. Lately we have been put into situations and circumstances and been connected with people whose journey is paralleling ours, or what we have already been through. As we journey, we invite you to see where God is working in us and where He might have our journey work in and through you, and we’d love to be able to see where your journey is taking you!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A few months ago now Brian stayed home from church with all the boys. Myron had had a fever the day before so we kept them home. Apparently he was still a little wore out!
The boys were all down in the shed "working" when Brian looked out to find Myron sleeping on the ground. He just laid down and went to sleep! He used to do this in Africa all the time. Luckily he didn't get sunburned!

Just a cutie of Henry from a few months ago.

Mariah was out looking for pics to take for the fair.

Here are some pics of birdhouses that Brian makes (they are for sale!).
This is the larger size, about 2 feet by 2 1/2 feet.

This smaller one is about 12 in by 18 inches.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Oh, we’ve written much about this in the past. Character in leadership. Character on your public face and character behind closed doors. Wait a minute-that looks like two “characters”. In fact we could probably add a third or fourth or…the character you have with certain people-that could be hundreds of characters.
Yeah, but I’m pretty sure we are only suppose to have one. If who you are in the secret isn’t the same as who you are in the public, or who you are to me is different than who you are to the next guy-you’ve got a problem. A really big one, and His name is GOD.
Which one do you think HE cares about?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We were sent to this website for a great article on missions that we enjoyed, but God grabbed our attention here instead…
And there are lots of things we could say, want to say, maybe shouldn’t say-things to think about, things we are saddened about, are disappointed about, are frustrated about-are, are, are…
But we think we will just let you think on this one yourself, for yourself, for your own body.

Click here

Then here

Monday, July 26, 2010

Took this from Brandi's facebook status:

"I've told the Lord I want to be an obedient servant, and He shot back,
'And are you willing to face grief and pain or whatever it takes for Me to make you that?'
Even though I felt unable, I said,
'What choice do I have? I know too much to drop the ball now. There's no turning back.'
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't afraid. But He has brought me this far and already my joy is unspeakable." - Elisabeth Elliot (emphasis mine)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

fair time!

Only 2 ½ weeks until the county fair! Yeah! (or not?!)
What usually happens is about 4 days before the fair entries are due, we go frantic trying to get drawings and colorings and getting and finding crafts and yes, it is ME who ends up having to push to get stuff done.
So this year I decided with all the “boredom” we need to get ahead of the game and get some of this stuff done NOW. Off to the dollar store and craft store I went. As I stand and pull down items to throw in the cart I am thinking, “I am spending how much for the chance for my kids to win a few bucks?!”
I know, I know, it’s not about the money. It’s the fun of crafts, it’s the learning to do something…it’s the pulling of mom’s hair. Really, they like to do it, but only if I come up with it. And I know a $1 premium is a big deal to a 6 year old and the fair can’t afford to pay more anyway. And there’s nothing like the excitement of going to the Home Ec building and seeing how pleased the kids are with their ribbons (even the green participation ones).
It’s funny that I have the kids do all these craft things, considering how very uncrafty I am. They do get to do a little baking, but I just don’t need all the extra goodies that come along with the baking in the house. C and M can do most of the baking themselves now, but it’s still a lot of anxiety and mess for mom! We’ll also go around and look for veggies in the garden and flowers around the house. All the girls want to try some photography this year too-we’ll see. That one is definitely a more expensive category-you have to have it developed a certain size and framed so we’ll see about that one.
When we first started doing the fair stuff (7 years ago?) there weren’t many other kids doing crafts. Then their friends started and more of their friends and now…it’s a little tougher to get a prize!
Oh well-plenty to do to keep boredom at bay for a while.
P.S. JoAnn’s in Willmar had a whole bunch of little craft kids and summer camp things on clearance for 50 cents!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

According to my big master schedule, 8:30 is supposed to be “bible time.” Well, for right now it is 9 pm. We get together as the fam and I read 3 chapters out of the bible. Have NOT been doing this very consistently, but we just finished Genesis the other night and on to Exodus we go. About the 3rd chapter God starts laying it out for Moses. You are going to do this, this, and this; then this, this and this will happen. Moses of course says well, I am not this or good at this though… God says no worries; I will be with you (the paraphrased version!). Brian and I were both huh-ing. God told Moses what was going to happen, BUT…He didn’t tell him exactly how hard it was going to be! I am thinking Moses would have said, ha! I soooo don’t think so!
We are so wishing in our own personal lives that God would just tell us what is going to happen, where/if to go, what to do, who to be with, all that stuff. And as we wait we are confident that God will lead and guide and direct and confirm to us what is next. And eventually we’ll get excited, or at least driven, to whatever is coming next. But He ain’t gonna tell us how hard it is going to be. ‘Cuz looking back on all this hard stuff-yup, it was GOOD for us (not happy-good, but good nevertheless). Would we have said yes had we known the hard stuff? I really don’t know. Maybe, thinking naively how great it would be (i.e. adoption). And now-we think of all the possibilities of what the next thing could be…and I gotta tell you-it’s a lot scarier to say yes. It’s a lot harder to even contemplate listening to what God calls. I mean, really-we have no for-sures or even plans for anything in the future right now, so I’m not even thinking anything specific-but really, I am soooo not wanting to put our family back out on the front lines. And ANY time we listen to what God says and obey-we are on the front lines-the enemy’s front lines.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I wrote quite awhile ago about THE NOTICER, also by Andy Andrews. I was contacted by the company, thanked for the review, and then asked if I wanted his new book to review. I said sure! I am always up for a good (free) book.

I received The Heart Mender shortly thereafter. Loved, loved, loved it! Second chances-forgiveness…again God’s timing is amazing!
I didn’t want to put it down-this guy is a great story teller! The jest of it is that Andy Andrews found some war relics under a tree at his beach house. He is compelled to go on this quest to figure out where they came from. Eventually he finds the people who planted them and this is their (pretty much true) story. (Names are changed and all that to protect identities).

Fascinating thing to me: I don’t remember ever hearing or studying about the German subs in the Gulf of Mexico during World War II. Really, this was going on?

There is also an interesting line of thought on pages 141-142 about history telling us that a democracy is always temporary in nature. (You’ll have to get the book-too much for me to put in.)

The forgiveness, the second chance that Helen is confronted with. The bitterness and hate that she is filled with, the hurting within. And God plops someone into her life that directly confronts that anger and hate. Her husband was killed by Germans in the war; turns out the German’s wife and child whom she found on the beach were killed by the pilots that her husband had been training. Ironic? Coincidence? God’s sovereign grace that confronts us with our own hurts?
I really don’t know what much else to say…I LOVED the story; I could hardly put it down. And it confronted me in my own resentment, anger and bitterness towards some things. This story is about forgiveness. Here are some passages from the books I just want to have us think about.

These are from the café owners where Helen work-talking to each other, to Helen and to their own son about forgiveness:

“…forgiveness can occur only because we have been given the ability to make choices. We have the choice to forgive or not to forgive…and nobody came make us do either one. You understand?”
Danny nodded.
“We begin to forgive by choosing to forgive…by deciding, not by feeling. Our feelings don’t lead us to forgive. Most times, our feelings lead us the other way. That’s why a person has to decide to forgive first. Our feelings always follow along behind our decisions.” –p.119

“Forgive and forget is not reality. It’s not really possible anyway, which is a good thing, because it is not necessary. Forgiveness does not erase history or excuse what happened. What has happened…has happened, and nothing can erase the memory of it or its consequences.
“Forgiveness means relinquishment. It is that simple. Danny, do you what relinquishment means?”
“No, sir.”
“It means giving something up. To relinquish something means to give up whatever power it holds over us. If you forgive somebody for something he did to you, that means you choose to never again allow that event to determine how you feel or how you act of even how you treat that person. You may remember the wrong, but by choosing to forgive, you have disarmed it. Then it can no longer determine what you think, what you say, or what you do.” P.120

“I think you have to forgive him for you.”
“Why’s that?”
“Because whenever you get hurt by somebody, you can either think about’em all day long and let’em, keep hurting you inside…or give them to God.”
Helen furrowed her brow. “Give them to God?”
“Unh-huh. If you forgive them, it doesn’t mean they get away with what they did…it just means that you don’t have to think about it all the time. You can’t do anything anyway, except be mad. See? You just give’em to God. Then you can be happy.”
So what does God do with them when He gets them? And she laughed at the ridiculous answer that popped into her head: What do I care? They don’t belong to me anymore. pp.129-130

“I know I must forgive. I can only hope that it gets easier than it is at present to do so.”
Helen frowned. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, we are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”
Helen shook her head impatiently. “No. I meant, what do you mean when you say, ‘I know I must forgive’?”
“Just that I must practice forgiveness. It is less an act than a determined way of living. I think that is why we are supposed to forgive ‘seventy times seven’. True forgiveness comes only at the conclusion of an inner struggle.” P.149

“ 'the truth shall set you free.’ And it will. But sometimes…first, it can make you miserable. That’s where she’s at. Give her time.” P.152

One last one, I should put it all up, but I won’t, read it yourself!

“For instance, whatever Helen’s going through…Granted, this is nothing anyone ever seems to consider, but isn’t Helen an island, so to speak, if she chooses to forgive?”
Billy pondered the question, then said deliberately, “If you mean that we are an ‘island’ when we choose to forgive because it is not necessary anyone else be involved in the process…then, yes, I think you are right.”
Warming to the thought, Margaret asked, “Billy, where is it written that for one person to forgive another, the offender must ask for forgiveness? Where is it written—not in the Bible, for sure—that for one person to forgive another, the offender must deserve it?”
“How about this…where is it written that for one person to forgive another, the offender has to approve it, accept it, or even know about it?p.157
(she goes on to develop this thought even more-such good stuff! Get the book!)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

friend of god?

We sang this song in church last week. During rehearsal we talked about this a bit. Theologically we base the song on God calling Abraham his friend in the Old Testament, and in John 15:15 Jesus says, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
Our worship pastor pointed out that never in the bible though, does it say anybody called God friend. He likened it to the Office of President (not the person per se!). What would you do if the President asked you to be his friend, his confidant? To you, he would still be “Mr. President,” wouldn’t he? There is a respect for the Office and the responsibility of it. If he told you he wanted to confide in you, to tell you what he know, the secrets, the personal challenges…we’d consider it a privilege wouldn’t we? But really, I ask-would you really want it?
God wants us to be His friend-He wants to show us what He sees, tell us things He knows, what He says. Jesus says they were His friends because He made known to them the master’s business.
You know what my first thought was? Considering where I am right now and where I have been, if this is being God’s friend, and if knowing what He knows (and wants me to know) hurts like this-I don’t want it.
Do I really want to know (and feel) what He does? The love, sure. The sorrows, the hurts…definitely not so much. Think of the weight of the knowledge and power the Office of the US President alone holds. The lives at stake and the ramifications of all your decisions, the pressures. Would you really want to be a part of that? Would you WANT to take that on yourself? Our pride probably says sure, but really? Think about it.
Now multiply that times infinity and that’s what God wants us to feel. He wants us to feel the love He has for the hurting, the oppressed, the needy, the not-so-needy. That’s the weight off the world on Jesus’ shoulders. I think He also wants us to feel the insults, the losses, the pain, the suffering. God wants us to be more like Christ, and guess what? Christ hurt. He hurt for you and me. Never will we feel the extent of what Jesus went through (PTL!), but we can and will know just a hint of His pain, His suffering…His love.
Now, if we knew that this is what we were getting into, why would we want to be God’s friend? If feeling (just a small touch of) that pain was part of it, when just a touch can be so overwhelming, why would we do that?
But we do. Why? Because He created us that way. He created us for a relationship with Him. Our earthly relationships aren’t even a tinge of what our Father wants with us. In David Platt’s new book, Radical, he states, “We do have to love him in a way that makes our closest relationships in this world look like hate.” (pp12-13)
Once we do know what being His friend involves, we still stay His friend. What the? Why? What draws us, what makes us want to be in the constant friendship with God? HE does. It’s nothing we do on our own. We can’t will it ourselves-believe me, I have tried. My best intentions, they ALWAYS fall way short.
And what do we do with the Father’s business, what do we do with those feelings? Do they break our hearts the way the Father’s is broken over us and drive us to action? Or do they hurt and hurt, but cause us to become apathetic because the pain and the suffering can be so deep? What can I, as one person do?
What is the responsibility that comes with this friendship to God? The God who calls me friend, the God whom I am to reverently call God.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I started this study before we left Zambia, but never got back to it. Then I restarted it a few months ago. There were some thoughts that I wanted to put out there from it, so it has been sitting on my to write about pile since then. I suppose I better write about it or I will never get back to finishing the study!
As you will see, these are thoughts about being transformed-being clay in the Potter’s hands. I think there are plenty of things for us to think about, being the clay, especially while the Potter isn’t finished with us. (these are quotes from the study)

“Whenever the pot the potter was working on turned out badly, as sometimes happens when you are working with clay, the potter would simply start over and use the same clay to make another pot.” Jeremiah 18:4, the Message

-He didn’t discard the marred clay. He reclaimed it. He envisioned another way to shape it.
-Marred clay is imperfect. Something failed in the formation process. Like the clay, our lives can turn out differently than expected.
When our clay gets marred by sin, mistakes, and difficulties, God doesn’t reject us. In fact, the Potter expects flaws to surface while making a vessel.
-The Potter uses the same clay. There is no refuse or thrown-away parts. All of the clay-the blemishes, fractures and failures-belong to the transformed pot.
-The Potter envisions the clay and wheel from a perspective that nobody else does.
-If the clay wobbles off center, as happens with pots and people, the Potter reforms it. If it collapses, he carefully reshapes it. p.88

-All pottery processes create a certain amount of waste clay….
…until it is fired, however all clay can be reclaimed to a working condition. Contrary to expectations, clay improves with age, and if left in a soft condition, increases its plasticity. –From THE COMPLETE POTTER by Steve Mattison

-We need to accept that spiritual transformation is circular, unpredictable, and sometimes feels like we’re falling back instead of stepping forward. Its’ messy, but God the Potter holds us. p.93

-Could it be that the Potter thrives on the chaos of the whirling wheel? Could it be that He loves messes? The Potter places his hands on slumping clay and turns it into a masterpiece. We bring the trouble. The Potter works the transformation. --Stephen W. Smith

I can, I NEED, to be reminded that I am not perfect, nor is my house perfect, nor are my kids…nor is my faith. I am an imperfect child of God being molded. He expects my flaws to come out as I am being worked-so He can redeem them into what HE wants me to be. Sometimes my “self” gets in the way and God needs to start over in an area in my life, rework it. I need to rest, I need to let myself relax into the boundaries that the Potter’s hands hold me to and move where He leads, move where He guides. Not me, HIM. If only it were that easy. Let, let, let. Instead I do, do do.

“A {person} who fails well is greater than one who succeeds badly.” Thomas Merton

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Living for Christ is the prerequisite of dying for Christ.
Obedience when no one is watching comes before obedience in public.
Obedience that’s hard.
Obedience that costs you something.
You can't fake that kind of obedience.
(From "Do Hard Things")

Monday, July 19, 2010

We look at the cross and we see our own sin. In the Old Testament when the Israelites were being bitten by the serpents, why did God have Moses make a bronze serpent for them to look at and be healed? Was it so they could see what it was that was killing them?

Do we look at the cross to be reminded of our sins-
of all that Christ had to go through-
of the life that we are daily dying to-
of the suffering our lives cause (ourselves, others, Christ)-
of the only way to be truly free?

(I don’t know if we wrote this or if we got it from somewhere-I know it came out of a discussion at some point)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

We cannot solve our problems
with the same thinking
we used when we created them.
--Albert Einstein

Friday, July 16, 2010

more quotes coming to make you go hmmm....

“We are not living in a world where all roads are radii of a circle and where all, if followed long enough, will therefore draw gradually nearer and finally meet at the centre:

rather in a world where every road, after a few miles, forks into two, and each of those into two again, and at each fork you must make a decision.

Even on the biological level life is not like a river but like a tree. It does not move towards unity but away from it and the creatures grow further apart as they increase in perfection. Good, as it ripens, becomes continually more different not only from evil but from other good.”

--C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce. April 1945 (emphasis ours)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

(wrote this?)

Many months ago someone in our small group asked about preparing our kids to take communion and how to do that. To set the stage a bit-maybe half or more of our group were raised in a denomination where you had some type of confirmation class that helped you learn what your church believed and where they stood on things and who and how to take communion. Most of us now attend a church where that doesn’t happen, but is along the line of “if you have confessed Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are welcome to partake; and parents, this is for you to discuss with your children.”
The verses/point about the offended brothers was brought up. (If your brother has anything against you, leave your sacrifice at the altar and go and make amends) I thought of this more considering the post we wrote months ago about apologies. Each believer is to take this seriously.
Are we ever “perfect” enough to take communion though? We (should) confess our sins before partaking. Is that enough to make us clean? What if we have offended someone but didn’t know it and took communion? We don’t want to be banging ourselves on the head about this either, nit-picking every little thing. Is what is going on between you and God more the issue? It’s personal; you know if you are offended by someone, and often if you have offended them. What is your responsibility when the other party doesn’t care? They have offended you, or you may even be the one who offended them, but they don’t want to make amends. Do you not take communion?
What is the church’s role in the preparation for communion? Many would say it is to help them prepare for the time of remembrance and taking the cup and bread. What though, does that mean? Setting an “atmosphere”? Leading/giving the actual elements? Teaching the meaning, the significance of the act? All parts probably. But there is still a strong level of PERSONAL responsibility that must be there. Is the church responsible if we take communion knowing that we (personally) know of an offense either way? I guess I think they should step in and at least say something to the parties if they know about it. Most of our churches are so large that leadership doesn’t know of the offense, or due to their size they don’t think it is a big enough offense to deal with. Not saying that is right, it just happens. Is the church ultimately responsible for each of us personally anyway, or are we responsible for ourselves (suppose that depends on your denominations/beliefs, huh?)?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

CONTROL (written a few months ago)

Most adoptive parents will tell you that their children have “control” issues. Agencies and books tell their new parents this, but it usually isn’t enough. You just don’t seem to really believe it until you have to deal with it. These issues manifest in controlling their food (amount of intake/stealing), their general behaviors, some even hold everything in instead of using the bathroom (for days at a time), among many others.
Why? Why is control a common thread? Because for part, if not most of their early lives, they have had little to no control. They had no say in anything-IF they would get to eat, where they would live, if they would stay with mom or be adopted, etc. (True of all babies I suppose, but more so for adoptees because these issues were real situations that have actually played out for them) And somehow they now have to be willing to relinquish whatever little semblance of control they (think) they have to their new parents and family-they have to CHOSE to be a part of the family and follow the families’ rules. Before we adopted I DID NOT do all the reading, researching, and preparing that I could and should have. I just assumed it would be like adding another kid to the family—no biggie. Boy was I wrong!
Anyway, this post isn’t necessarily about that. Because that could take posts upon posts to write about. And again, if you don’t live it, it’s just sooo hard to believe. I know it may look to the outsider that we treat J differently. Well, the truth is we do-we can only treat him how he is able to respond to. And we treat each one of our kids differently- if you tell me you treat all yours exactly the same I wouldn’t believe you. Each child is a different age (and acts their age differently than the last one), each has their own temperament; each is a very different person than the rest. And often that looks “unfair” to those who don’t see daily life. There is a reason J doesn’t get to eat whatever he wants, whenever he wants and from whomever he wants for an example. That’s one of those control issues-he doesn’t have (or I should say, won’t exercise) self-control in this area. It is a choice he could make if he wanted to, but doesn’t. It is something we have to work on, consistently. (Meaning we have to work on obeying-he knows not to take food from anyone without asking mom or dad first, but usually doesn’t. And there is an aspect of working on knowing when he is full or not, when he really needs to eat or not.) That was one blessing of living in Africa for a year-there were things/behaviors we were able to see in older children and grown African men that helped confirm the what and the why of some of his behaviors.
But I am going off again. This is about MY control issue. One day I seemed to just be struck with it-me having this issue. Our lives seem pretty normal, but really, it still does not seem or feel under control by any means. So what do I do? I control my house. I control, even obsess some about how picked up it is or isn’t. If you come to my house right now you will see my big schedule posted on the wall where I have written what I would like to have happen each day. Where I wrote what I would like to see if I really had all the control I wish I had, that I pretend to have. Some things seem to be spiraling and there is nothing I can do about it; so I will control what I know I can and overcompensate in that realm.
I guess the thought just struck me how I am more like J in some ways than I would have thought. The key now is to take that, remember it, and relate to him in his “moments” differently, knowing somewhat where he is coming from.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Trust requires a track record. If someone hurts you repeatedly, you are commanded by God to forgive them instantly, but you are not expected to trust them immediately, and you are not expected to continue allowing them to hurt you. They must prove they have changed over time. (the difference between forgiveness & trust) --Rick Warren, PDC

Monday, July 12, 2010

I was looking and thinking some more about the comment at the top about rural Africans being more concerned with the process than the end goal/where you end up. The process is important; the process is what gets us to the end goal. So the process must be “right”. Where you “end up” is important too. How do we know when it is right? Do we just skate through life continuing with trial and error and hope sooner or later we get it “right”? Or do we learn from GOD and others, accept correction, rebukes, reproofs as needed to get and stay on the “right” process. Is there only one right way? God gives us free will to make our own choices. He also provides others in our path, in our processes to assist us. Will we accept it? Will we insist on our own way? Is part of the mark of process, PROGRESS? Going and getting somewhere-not just physically obviously, but moving forward in our faith walk.

Friday, July 9, 2010

“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8

This doesn’t mean you will be rich and famous. Our pastor said it was more like, “You will serve and you will lead and you will quite often pay the price.”
We ask ourselves, how can you ever again even THINK (let alone do it!) of going into any type of ministry? When you go into ministry, you are basically signing up to suffer-somehow, someway and at times worse than others. Why? Why does it happen that way? Because you are a target. All Christians are targets, just by being a Christian you become a target for Satan-you sign up for suffering and persecution too. If you aren’t being attacked in some way, I would submit that you need to examine your life and wonder why. But when you are in ministry you become the Bullseye-the prize. How much damage does it do when a pastor or elder or outspoken believer falls in some way (most often failing “in the world’s eyes”)? A lot. Satan wants you to fall and fall hard, and he will throw his fiery darts, sometimes nuclear missiles at you. You can count on it; you can expect it, but yes: it still REALLY HURTS. But you know what, God is GOOD, and GOD is GOD. HE will not cast you away from His presence (Psalm 51) even when you fail or fall (again, that seems to come most often in the world’s eyes). God sees the heart. And I believe God allows the trials and sufferings to grow you. He wants you to grow and be more like Christ, which involves knowing His sufferings, His griefs, His love for you and for others. He doesn’t do it for Himself to see how dedicated you are-it’s often for you to see it about yourself. And God gives the grace and comfort and mercy to get through it, to then get back up and do it again. Our pastor also told us about a graduation speech at a seminary recently. The speaker gave them kudos for a job well done, getting through school and all. And then he told them to really enjoy the day. ‘Cuz that day is gonna be about as good as it gets. It’s downhill from here-there will be persecutions, there will be sufferings, and there will be pain. Again, you’d have to ask-what in the world would you sign up for that for??? Because when God has called you, HE has called you. It’s because HE knows what you are capable of and HE won’t give you more than you can handle with HIM. Because God is big enough to handle all your hurts and pains-His Son suffered worse than we ever could, and HE gives HIS SPIRIT to comfort us and to live through us. What God has purposed, God will see through. We aren’t big enough to ruin that.

Jesus told them, "Go to great danger, and let it be said of you what people would say of sheep wandering into the middle of wolves. They're crazy! They're clueless! They have no idea what kind of danger they are getting into!" This is what it means to be my disciple. We don't think like this. We say things such as, "The safest place to be is in the center of God's will." We think, if it's dangerous, God must not be in it. If it's risky, if it's unsafe, if it's costly, it must not be God's will. But what if these factors are actually the criteria by which we determine something IS God's will? What if we began to look at the design of God as the most dangerous option before us? What if the center of God's will is in reality the most unsafe place for us to be? -From Radical by David Platt

Thursday, July 8, 2010

leading and following in a church body

Everybody has an opinion of what THEY want. And they want leadership to do what THEY want. Well, guess what? I may not want what YOU want, but only what I want. Or I may agree with you on half but have even just a little different view. What are the leaders to do? PRAY AND SEEK AFTER GOD’S WILL. At leadership meetings, hopefully they are spending as much if not MORE time in prayer and study together as they do conducting “business.” (Years ago Kelly’s MOPS group changed from doing prayer and bible study as time allowed at the end of the meeting to do it first thing and business was handled later, if there was time-and they did really well-but I am getting off subject) And then hold fast to the direction the Lord is leading them as the elders of the church and the conviction that they are following what God’s will for the WHOLE CHURCH is. And what do we in the body do? We PRAY and we TRUST. We trust that the leaders we nominated and then approved are seeking the Lord’s direction and following after Him. We trust that they are being led for the good of the WHOLE CHURCH, not just for what I want as an individual, or what my friends want. We have given them charge to be the leaders of our churches, so we need to let them lead. If what or where they are leading is unscriptural or unethical, we are required by God’s Word to tell them (after searching our own hearts). That’s a pretty serious charge, so we need to have our own intentions in check. But as a body of believers we are to use God’s Word to rebuke and correct as needed, done in love, even to our leaders if needed. We just need to make sure it is about God’s Word, not our own selfish desires. If it is not unscriptural or unethical, then do we agree to disagree and continue under the authority of those we have chosen to lead the church? This comes back to the question of whether we trust that our leadership (elders and staff) are seeking after God wholeheartedly in prayer to lead our church. You can never please everyone all the time and we don’t always have to “like” every decision made. This should drive us to prayer for our leadership to be seeking and listening to GOD’S will, not mine or yours or hers or...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

back to blogging

Hey all, we'll be back to blogging again!
For the first two or three days after the delivery I was feeling pretty good. By Saturday I was having trouble staying on my feet too long because it would make me so tired. Sunday morning I got the chills and was having severe contraction-like pain. We ended up spending 4 hours at the ER where the doc there just basically gave me pain meds but didn't really check out why it was going on.
Later that night the fever went up again and was still up in the morning. We headed to my regular doc and spent 5 hours at the clinic. They took lots of blood, did an ultrasound, and finally we headed some with a sore "hip" from a shot of antibiotics and some other pretty heavy antibotic meds to take at home. Diagnosis was is a uterine infection. Just happens some times, some people probably don't want to read the details, so I will leave it at that :)
The meds started working pretty much right away and by Tuesday when I went in there was a visible difference to everyone I saw (should the receptionists and lab techs know you every time you come in?). The floor receptionist was so cute, telling me she felt bad for me all day yesterday wondering if I would ever get to go home and wanting to just pinch my checks to get some color back into them.
Tuesday afternoon the kids went to stay at the grandparents and I slept and then Brian made me supper. We stayed up late watching movies and doing nothing. The kids will be back some time today and A.E. brought supper last night that we'll eat tonight so should be another quiet day.
Thanks for all your prayers!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Processing through a loss is always difficult. And doing it with young children is always…interesting.
I don’t know where she got these terms, but when someone brings a meal G asks if people are coming over to pay their respects, or will other people come? I am not sure how to explain to her that that really doesn’t happen when you lose a baby before it’s born. Or really even if it dies soon after birth. Why doesn’t it? She also keeps asking when the burial is going to be (we’ll probably do it sometime this weekend).
H just asked why do babies have to die. I don’t know honey-sometimes it just happens. The other morning a friend came over to cut hair and her kids came to play. We knew the kids were going to talk to other people about what happened, but weren’t sure how to help them do that-help them know what to say or not. Most of the time we don’t have to worry about I guess-they just do! H said she just told her friend that her mom was going to have a baby but it died. Her little friend (the same age) said she had two brothers in heaven too. Pretty cool for our 7 yr old to have someone who knows what she does. In a way it’s all so matter of fact for them. I know she is still sad though.
Mya told me he didn’t like it when babies die. He likes it when they are born. Me too buddy.
Thank you for all the prayers, thoughts, and encouraging words. You are a comfort. Yes, I am still crying and the girls still cry with me some. C and M were able to see the baby after it was born. C just glanced-she really didn’t know if she wanted to look, M said it was really tiny. She just had one of her friends ask how I was doing, so she also got to tell to someone, she did a good job; I’m not sure if she had a tough time doing it our not.
It was very definitely a boy though, hence the name Michael. Well, actually we didn’t have a name at first. I knew I wanted to name him, it would help us all in the grieving process, but wasn’t sure what. In case you haven’t figured it out, we are of the mind that if the Lord blesses, He blesses; if not, He doesn’t-we don’t try real hard to have or not have a baby. Anyway, I have a few names that I want to save just in case we ever do have another one. For some reason Michael came to me. Brian was also praying what to name him because he didn’t know either. I asked M what she thought, but neither of us liked the name she came up with. I said no, something more like Michael. Brian said what?! That was the name he had gotten-this baby boy was definitely named by God! I looked up the meaning, and Michael means “who is like God?” Indeed. “Who among the gods is like you, O LORD ? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” Exodus 15:11
When we lost our other two babies, we were not doing this blog and didn’t have much of an outlet for sharing our grief. The sad truth is that most people don’t share their grief when they have a miscarriage or a stillbirth or a baby who dies shortly after birth. I don’t know why, well-I guess I can think of plenty of “politically-correct” reasons. But they are crap. I have seen my three children, all less than 15 weeks, and they were BABIES-they were little people already. And now they wait to be held by their momma and daddy, waiting to play with their brothers and sisters some day in heaven.
So thanks again for all your kind words, your prayers, your tears with us. In a way, there really is nothing to “talk about”, but it’s comforting just to be able to tell our story, and hopeful it/we can be a comfort or encouragement to someone else somewhere along the way who may be going through the same thing.