Friday, January 29, 2016


Good Morning sweet sisters. 
How does this fine Friday morning find you? I am excited.
I feel like letting out a war cry. 
A open mouthed hallelujah!  God be praised.
That could be awkward though for my daughter, as I am sitting at her basketball practice.  

I have not written in a while.  

A long while.  

A really long while if I am going to be totally honest. 
I have been longing to get back into writing.  Today is the day that I emerge from my rest.
( Deep breathe in…and out )
Let me explain a bit….
When you LEAst expect it…WhackSent into a total tail spin.  Totally blasted with an attack that seems incredibly Unwarranted.  From the least likely of sources. 

Have you ever felt this kind of disoriented?

You know, like if you were twirling your hair, blowing a big pink bubble, 

enjoying the cool breeze of the Mediterranean Sea 

and a relief plane drops 200lbs. of blankets
square on your iPhone!

 For a week you have no Google translate. 



Your world stands still.
(Go here with me, close your eyes and picture it…)

How do we recover from a wound inflicted from one of our own.
 One of the trusted?
A beautiful child of the most High King. 

I just walked this out.
(I am so grateful that I just chuckled OUT loud after typing that)
Whew, I survived.  
I am thriving once again. 

Actually I was thriving the whole time. 

I struggled  desperately to maintain courage in the smoke and mirrors. 

Holy Spirit delivered wisdom was my bread.  His Word was water to my weary frame. 

Continuing in loving kindness was my weapon of warfare. 

My families growth in the past 2 years has been astounding. 

I remember telling people after we returned home after 5 years in the field that either we were going to perish ‘over there’ or come out closer than ever to each other and to God. 

Having walked through an attempted assassination from the accuser of the brethren was 

no walk on the beach.  

Let me tell ya.  
But, Father is all about relationships, and so I am learning to be.

The enemies strategy only made me stronger, more steadfast and capable of deeply loving people. 
 Deep, passionate love that i was not capable of or new existed prior to the all out attack launched on my family...

I think the betrayal made me need God on a different level. 
Like, really really need him. 
'For reals' as my daughters say.

My heart is reaching out to yoU RIGHT NOW.
I can see your tears falling when I close my eyes. 
I can feel your brokenness taking shape. 
How can this happen to us, you might say. 
You will never be the same after this.  
I remember thinking….
How will I add THIS to my testimony. 

But, I did.
One beautiful opportunity at a time. 
I remember feeling so out of my element. 
Convicted to not talk publicly, as not to undo the work of the Gospel in our city.  Bound by the goodness of a God that reminded us daily he had our back and not to run away.  

Our marching orders were written in red.  
Bless, abide and keep the bridge open to reconciliation no matter the cost. 
He has unique marching orders for all of us.  
They revolve around His loving kindness.
My experience has shown me that this fruit is the sweetest.
Bless, come in the opposite spirit and take it one day at a time. 
Believe that it is better to have been Reimagined, than stay the same he told me. 
Have an incredible Friday, I will see you here next week and I just might get my personal blog up and running again! 

Father, I ask today that you would comfort the afflicted.  That wounds would continue heal today. Restoration of hearts would be seen.  Testified to, and Glory would be given you your name.
Healing I ask for in the name of Jesus.  
I love you sisters, it's a love I am honored to have stumbled into.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Making Self-Care a Priority

Last January was one of the greatest new beginnings that I have experienced, and I didn’t even plan it. I hadn’t made any sort of resolution that led to this new start, but the Lord had worked things in my life that forced me to resolve to begin anew in some ways.

I had been very sick for 3 months without a known cause until discovering in January that my wide range of frightening symptoms all stemmed from problems with my spine and the nerves running out of my upper back and neck.

When finally settling on the diagnosis, my doctor said that I absolutely must start exercising regularly or just accept that I would likely never feel better. My back was weak and discs and vertebrae were suffering, and exercise was required to build muscle to support my spine.  I literally hadn't exercised in years. I had neglected to take care of myself physically to the point that I was greatly incapacitated by lack of stewardship of my body.

So, given the ultimatum to exercise or suffer, I started back to ballet, which I had studied until I was a young adult. I knew it would be good exercise and good for my posture, and hoped it would be enjoyable too. You see, when I had quit, I had completely burnt out and never thought I’d desire to dance again. At this moment though, dancing seemed more interesting to me than other options, so I decided to give it a try.

I showed up to the first class, and to my surprise, I experienced one of the biggest surges of joy that I had experienced in years. I was reminded of a long faded passion for music, movement, and beauty. I immediately felt the benefit to not only my body, but to my emotions and soul that come about through physical exercise and doing something I had once loved. My physical symptoms resolved over a period of weeks, and my emotional and spiritual health also greatly improved.

A picture from after class in November.

As a mother of 4 young kids serving overseas, life always feels intense. There doesn’t feel like there is space for anything superfluous, and in reality there rarely is. But what I have been learning is that caring for myself is not superfluous. It is necessary. It is necessary for my ability to be a good mom and wife, it is necessary for longevity on the mission field, it is necessary to keep me from imploding under the weight of all that urgently needs to be done in this life, and it is necessary to remind me that I am loved by the Lord and that He desires to care for me as His daughter. I am not His slave, but His beloved daughter whose mind, body, and soul matter greatly to Him. 

Last year was the beginning of a journey in learning how to make sure that I am a good steward of my physical, emotional, and spiritual health. I was forced to fit a hobby/exercise back into my life, and realized that though it does take time, my capacity has actually increased. I am better able to love and serve others and to accomplish my daily tasks because I am so much more refreshed than I have been in years past. I also have had so much more authentic joy in the Lord.

I write this to you as encouragement to those of you who, like me until God forced a change, feel like there just isn’t any space for you to care for yourself. To me it literally felt impossible to add anything to my life at the moment that I was forced to do so. It does take creativity, and at first it will look like sacrifice and perhaps even an impossibility like it did to me until receiving the doctor’s ultimatum, but often there really is a way if you we are willing to work to find it. As mothers and missionaries, we are very used to and skilled at putting our needs aside for long seasons, but sometimes we need also to remember how to be good stewards of the mind, body, and soul given to us by the Lord. He loves you and cares about all aspects of who you are!

Here are a few questions I’ve come up with to perhaps help in brainstorming ways to move towards greater health in this New Year if you are feeling stuck:

1.       In what area am I feeling most depleted? (Physically? Emotionally? Spiritually? Relationally?...)

2.       What are some things that bring me joy, fulfillment, and health in this area? What are some things that I have benefited from in the past in this regard, or what is something that I’ve always wanted to try?

3.       If I were commanded by an authority that I absolutely must make space in my life for one of these things, how would I do it? What would I cut out to make room? How practically could I make it happen? Whose help would I need to make this a reality?

4.       Without being literally commanded to do so, could I try stepping out in faith to care for myself in this area of need? 

Have you had similar new beginnings with regards to your own self-care? Are you willing to share an area where you are feeling depleted and perhaps need to begin caring more for your own well-being?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

New Beginnings for When You Feel Like You've Blown It

New Beginnings...

Seems like we tend to talk about that a lot in January, huh?  Anyone else feel like they already have screwed up 2016?

I know I do.  I am entering the third trimester with baby #4, and I feel every week of it.  I can't seem keep track of everything any more.  I am tired all the time, and well, if we're honest, I am a bit low.  I keep washing the same dishes, why aren't they clean yet?

I feel like I've already blown the new beginning of 2016.  You know, those good intentions and all. We're going to be on top of packing nutritious, yummy lunches.
We're going to have a great after school routine.
We're going to do better at keeping up with the laundry.

Except we haven't.  There have been some days when I've come close, but most days, not so much.   And the really sad part is it's only 21 days into the New Year.

And then the Lord reminded me, "Every morning is a new start. Remember?"

So that's where I'm living. Trying to remember that each morning when I wake up, that yesterday's list should just be thrown away and we start fresh.  To take each day as it comes. To remember that my worth isn't in the check list, but in that I am a daughter of the King.

"Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail. 
 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness."
-Lamenatons 3:22-23

How about you?  Where are you living right now?

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Have you come to take away our souls?

Have you ever prayed to the Lord and asked Him to show you something… anything… beyond any shadow of any doubt... just so you can be sure?

I have... I still do... some times, some days...

My husband and I have often discussed this. He rarely doubts God, rarely questions if He is true, if He is good, if Jesus is Who He says He is and really did come and do what the Scriptures say He did. I, on the other hand, struggle with doubt more often than I care to admit.

In John 10.24, Jesus spoke to a group gathered around Him, Jews who had come to the temple for the Festival of Dedication. Today more commonly called Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights, was not one of the original commemoration ceremonies instituted by God. Rather, it was/is a remembrance – according to rabbinic tradition – of a very specific provision by God. At the same time, it recalls what could seem to some an “inconsequential in the grand scheme of things” miracle. Historically this miracle took place in the time between the Old and New Testaments: Seleucid king Antiochus Ephiphanes desecrated the Jewish temple, forcing the Jews to abandon God’s prescribed system of worship and sacrifices. God's chosen people were obliged to adopt pagan rituals until the Maccabees (a group of Jewish freedom fighters) refused, rose up and overthrew the Seleucids. Once the Jews had regained access to the temple, they found a single, small, sealed jug of olive oil that had not been profaned and was, thus, acceptable for use in worship. They used this oil to light the temple menorah, expecting the oil to suffice for only a single day; miraculously, it endured for eight - the amount of time needed for more oil to be made ready. Thus, the Jews gathered around Jesus were in Jerusalem celebrating and remembering miraculous provision.

Not only that, but they had gathered in a location where God had traditionally accomplished great things (Matthew Henry), Solomon's Colonnade. 

At such a place, for such a purpose, at such a time, the Jews listened… and then confronted... Jesus. Standing in the presence of the most miraculous of all provisions, the Messiah of the World, in a place where the evidence of God’s hand had been so clearly present, the Jews asked Jesus a rather blunt question.

Most commentators suppose that the primary goal of this question was to waylay Him.

Look at some of the different renditions/translations of their question:
  • “…and said unto him, how long dost thou make us doubt?” (Gill)
  • “how long dost thou take away our soul?” as per the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions 
  • “wherefore dost thou steal away our minds with words?” (Nonnus)

The Jews charge Christ with taking away their souls, or stealing away their hearts by hiding Himself from them. Strong words.

I find I can often easily identify with the Jews in this passage. Some days, I start with worship - thinking about God. But then my thoughts migrate. I start trying to figure Him out, trying to make Him make sense-according-to-me. Overwhelmed by the enormity and awesomeness and power of the God I want to believe in, I look for answers that make sense… and then I start coming up with reasonings to try and make all of the puzzle pieces fit together. Eventually, I start doubting and asking questions like:
  • What if man really has made all of this up out of desperation for something beyond this life?
  • What if there really isn't a God? I think I've seen evidence of Him, but what if I'm only seeing what I want to see?
  •  What if Jesus wasn't anything more than a good man but deluded teacher?
  •  What if the Bible isn't inspired and is nothing more than a creative, enticing fabrication created by those who wanted for themselves and others a real purpose in life?
  • What if this life is all there is and then there is nothing?
  • What if I'm hoping for heaven and eternity... and there isn't?

The problem with asking these questions is: How do I EVER really answer them.

And even if I did have clear, unquestionable answers, wouldn’t that negate the idea that humankind is made up of moral agents with free will to choose what we believe? Wouldn’t that call into question the very premise that we are, in any way, different from the rest of creation?

There really aren't any answers other than to confess, once again, my sin of unbelief - to cry out in desperation, "Lord, I believe! Help Thou my unbelief!"

All of the Sunday School analogies I've learned through nearly 50 years of life all fall short. How can a finite mind comprehend an infinite God? The obvious answer is that man can't. I can't.

And that's what faith is all about. Faith is believing that a miraculous synergism between God's empowering grace to believe and man's choice to trust in that belief occurs, regardless of how things look or how well it all makes sense... 

Repeatedly, I must choose to leap and trust that God will be there to catch me - even on the doubting days when I can't see or feel Him. I must live every day as though He were walking next to me, even when I don't really feel like He is there. I must choose be okay with knowing that the moment I'll know for sure will be that moment when I take my final breath on this earth.

"Tell us, tell me, plainly... Have you come to take away our souls?"

The answer to that question is that Jesus came to deliver life back to my soul, your soul, every single one's soul...

 Just as those today who fear making that leap of faith and trusting Jesus... just as those who fear that a life spent following Jesus is only a life wasted because this life is all they have... these Jews accused Jesus of stealing from them the very gift He offered and longed for them to take. Jesus' response to this question was that He'd already plainly told them. He was not the thief, coming to seek and destroy - go back and read the first part of John 10, in case you've forgotten what He'd just taught.

As I begin yet another new year, I am, once again, also trusting that God will use this continual tension in my life… in my faith walk… to encourage and minister to a few others somewhere along the way. Who knows? Maybe that will be the very answer to my "Lord, I believe! Help Thou my unbelief!" prayer.

Were there some in that crowd of Jews that day who then believed?

How about you, today? What do you believe about Jesus?

How can you encourage someone around you keep on making that leap of faith toward the Christ, regardless…?