Lines

Lines in America…

...for $60 toys and $200 game consoles

Lines in Haiti…

... to see a nurse after not having any medical care in months, possibly years.

Lines in America…

...for $10 coffee pots and $1000 tvs

Lines in Haiti…

...for half a peanut butter sandwich and a small cup of juice

Lines in America…

...for $300 computers and $170 mp3 players

Lines in Haiti…

...for one used piece of clothing that someone in America no longer wanted

Tents in America…

...to be the first in line for Awesome deals

Tents in Haiti…

...because this is where they live.

Me on a Good Day

Looking back through my posts, I noticed a recurring theme: depression.  I will not deny that I struggle with depression; I have fought this sometimes debilitating disease since I was a young teenager.  However, depression is NOT a constant, every day battle.  It just so happens that when I do have a downer day, I tend to release my emotions through writing…and you, my precious friends, get to hear some of my moaning.

So, I want to share some of my thoughts during the good days of my life:

1. Returning from Ukraine.  (Which I wrote about HERE).  I KNOW there’s a purpose in our returning.  I KNOW there was a purpose in our going.  And although I have my moments of shame, confusion, and hurt, overall I am happy and content with the decision to return. My hubby felt it was the right decision, and I, in obedience to God’s calling on my life as a wife, am happy that I agreed to follow Josh’s leading.  By doing so, I strengthened our marriage, uplifted my husband, and honored God.

I am EXTREMELY proud of us for even stepping out into full-time mission work.  Many people think about what it would be like to pursue a passion, but they never do anything about it.  WE DID!  We sold our house & everything in it.  We gave up good, steady careers, and left all our friends and family.  We relied solely on God’s provision and trusted Him to be our strength as we adapted to a completely different culture.  We grew in faith and discovered God in ways that we had never experienced Him before.

Our time there was not in vain. Even in such a short amount of time, we were able to minister to the Ukrainians around us & challenge them in their beliefs about God, urging them to move from empty, religious practices into a meaningful relationship with Christ.  We formed life-long friendships that still bless us.

Above all, I’m so thankful that I have a husband who is willing to do whatever it takes to help his wife pursue the passions and visions she has dreamed of for so many years.  I don’t know what the future holds concerning full-time mission work…I really don’t think it will happen again…but I know that we’ll at least be willing to step out in faith to pursue whatever God lays on our hearts.

2.  Infertility. The truth is…I’ve never wanted children until a few years ago…and I only began to want them because I saw the deep desire in Josh to have children.  He’s experienced all the joys of fatherhood once before and has always desired to experience that again, but with me!  Our many childless years resulted mainly from my hesitations.  The last year or so has been difficult b/c  I know Josh’s heart…and his grief causes me grief.  More than anything, I want my husband to have the desires of his heart.  Most days I’m 100% okay with not having children.

Gasp! What?!?!

You see, my identity, purpose, and validation is not determined by motherhood; it’s found in God and His purpose for me.  What if it’s His will that Josh and I should never have children?  If that’s His will, then that’s what I want.  If He should decide to give us children, then I’m ready for that as well.  All I desire is to live a life completely surrendered to my Heavenly Father…putting my future into His hands…because I know that His plans for my life are much greater than anything I could dream of.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.     ~Jeremiah 29:11

For This I Have Jesus – part 1

In an evangelistic meeting in Ireland, the speaker was explaining what it means to abide in Christ and to trust Him completely in every trial.  Concluding his message, he repeated several times, “It means that in every circumstance you can keep on saying, ‘For this I have Jesus.’ ”

The meeting was then opened for testimonies.  One young woman said, “Just a few minutes ago I was handed this telegram.  It reads, ‘Mother is very ill; take train home immediately.’ When I saw these words, I knew that tonight’s message was meant just for me.  My heart looked up and said, ‘For this I have Jesus.’ Instantly a peace and strength flooded my soul.”

Three or four weeks later the evangelist received a letter from this woman.  It read, “Thank you again for the message you gave that day.  Life has become an uninterrupted psalm on victory, for I have come to realize that no matter what life brings, for this I have Jesus.”

That believer in Christ had found in her Savior the One who would be with her “through fire and through water,” and who would bring her “out to rich fulfillment” (Ps. 66:12).

If you are enduring a great trial of affliction, remember – for this you have Jesus!

I’ve found a refuge from life’s care in Jesus,

I am hiding in His love divine;

He fully understands my soul’s deep longing,

And He whispers softly, “Thou art Mine.”

–Christiansen

*today’s post taken from Our Daily Bread, April 6, Henry G. Bosch

operation beautiful

I found this note stuck to the bathroom stall door at work.  It was positioned perfectly at eye level once you sit on the commode. 

My first thought was, “oh, sad day…this person misspelled truly.  Too bad I don’t have a sharpie.” 

But then I scolded myself  for being so petty, because the message on this little post-it is powerful…more important than any spelling lesson.

I wish I had believed that message growing up; it would have saved me many years of turmoil.  Even today I catch myself listening to the lies of “you’re too fat”, ” you’re not pretty enough” and “you have the ugliest smile”.  

The same lies are believed by millions of women around the globe.  But, that’s not who we are…and it’s not who God says we are…We are wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:14)

We are truely beautiful!

www.operationbeautiful.com

A Doctor’s Praise

It all started a few years ago.  At first it was just an occasional tummy ache after eating.  But the pain began to increase and occur more often.  There were times, such as Christmas Day 2007, when, after eating the scrumptious steak, potato, and veggie dinner I was in such excrutiating pain that I spent the Christmas afternoon curled in a fetal position on the couch.  Despite my friends and family’s pleas, I refused to go to the doctor, perhaps out of fear or hope that it would just go away.

However, I could no longer ignore my ailment after what happened May 21, 2009.  Josh and I had just celebrated our 9th anniversary with dinner at Abuelos, a little shopping, and ice cream – all frequent staples in our life.  Just as I flopped into bed, it hit me…actually it was more like a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick to the gut.  The grueling pain filled my entire body.  Heartbeats sped up, breathing became difficult, and naseau ensued.  Even the sound of my sweet husband (who was a bit panicky and scared)  caused pain.  It was scary.  Very scary.  And although I still refused to be taken to the hospital that night, I did promise to finally go to the doctor. (I vaguely wrote about this in a few previous blogs that you read by clicking HERE and HERE.)

Over the last 6 months I’ve been poked, prodded, anesthetized, examined, and cross-examined by one of the best GI doctors in Dallas.  His diagnosis:  (drum roll please) “I DON’T KNOW.”  Every test and theory came back negative…there was no physical reason for my ailments.  So, he put me on an OTC drug just to see how my body would react…and then would determine how to proceed.

Here’s where “Hallelujah” comes into the story.  Today I had the follow-up appointment.  After friendly greetings, Dr. Rogoff tenderly asked, “How are you feeling?”  In his voice I sensed a genuine concern, but his eyes seemed almost sad, as if he expected a bad prognosis.  But, I smiled and said, “I feel GREAT!  Since being on the medicine my symptoms have practically disappeared.”

Dr. Rogoff, after his initial response of “really?”, began to laugh.  Then He said something that I did not expect to hear from my doctor… “HALLELUJAH”.  Dr. Rogoff’s first impulse was not to put focus on his wise medicine recommendation or on the wonders of the medicine itself, but to put focus on GOD!

Hallelujah!  Praise ye Jehovah!  Praise ye the LORD!

It was God, wasn’t it?  It was God who gave me strength to endure the pain for years.  It was God who walked with me through the dark times.  It was God who guided me to Dr. Rogoff, and God who gave him the intelligence and wisdom to treat my sickness.  It was God who protected me from worse diseases.  It was God…and still is God who deserves my praise FIRST.

1Praise the LORD. (Hallelujah)
I will extol the LORD with all my heart
in the council of the upright and in the assembly.

2 Great are the works of the LORD;
they are pondered by all who delight in them
.

3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
and his righteousness endures forever.

4 He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
the LORD is gracious and compassionate.

5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.

6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
giving them the lands of other nations.

7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.

8 They are steadfast for ever and ever,
done in faithfulness and uprightness.

9 He provided redemption for his people;
he ordained his covenant forever—
holy and awesome is his name.

10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.

~Psalm 111 (emphasis mine)

When chaos thrives

It seems that almost everyone I know, including myself, currently faces difficult situations in our lives.  From illnesses, loss of jobs, stressful family situations, and other sources of discouragement and pain, it seems that nothing is turning out right and blessings are few and far between.

Humanly speaking, we have every reason to rush to judgments, panic, bitterness, unforgiveness, and anger. We quickly look at our circumstances and wonder why these situations continue to come.  It is easy to look at all the chaos around us and become discouraged.  But discouragement, when allowed to fester, can have detrmintal results in our lives. God may seem distant, uncaring, or perhaps even absent. We forget that we are fearfully & wonderfully made and created with a purpose.

However, the truth is that, as Children of God, we are to “Walk by Faith, Not by Sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7)  And we walk by faith by trusting God – remembering that He is our Sovereign Lord.  He knows what is happening in our lives – he allowed these things to happen!  God is in all our life’s circumstances (the good and the bad), working for us, not against us.  God is at work, despite the difficulty of your situation and even when you can’t see or understand what He’s doing.

And beyond that…He gives us Wisdom and strength to face our circumstances with victory. When we take our eyes off our situations, place our focus on Him, and strive to Know Him, we become full of His truth.  Psalm 119:105 says that “His Word is a lamp to [our] feet and a light to [our] path.” By meditating on His Word and then applying it to our lives, we will lead us through these times of trials and straight into where He wants us to be. He is Faithful to show us what we need to do!

But it’s all a choice.  A choice to meditate on Truth or listen to the lies that bring us down.  A choice to praise & thank God during the hard times.  A choice in our attitudes, actions, and thoughts.  Choose today to engulf yourself with the Promises of God and meditate upon his many blessings!

This morning on the radio, I heard a devotional that speaks directly on this topic.  The following paragraph is from God to you.

Draw Near To Me with a thankful heart, aware that your cup is overflowing with blessings.  Gratitude enables you to perceive Me more clearly and to rejoice in our love-relationship.  Nothing can separate you from My loving Presence!  That is the basis of your security.  Whenever you start to feel anxious, remind yourself that your security rests in Me alone, and I am totally trustworthy.

You will never be in control of your circumstances, but you can relax and trust in My control.  Instead of striving for a predictable, safe lifestyle, seek to know Me in greater depth and breadth.  I long to make your life a glorious adventure, but you must stop clinging to old ways.  I am always doing something new within My beloved ones.  Be on the lookout for all that I have prepared for you.

(In)Credible News

I’m still thinking about this issue…informing you on it as well.

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