Thursday, January 31, 2013

THOROUGHLY LOVELY THURSDAY

Today has been a thoroughly lovely day. It started with an early morning walk downtown with my little Miss Merry. Ever since we moved to downtown Jackson, I've been taking the one kid out to eat, just the two of us, once a month. January was Merry's month and she chose to go get breakfast at Scurlock's Donuts and Eatery just a block south of the governor's mansion. It was a cold but pleasant walk past old homes, stately buildings, beautiful landscaping, frisky squirrels, and other interesting elements. At Scurlock's, Merry had a chocolate donut, I had one donut hole and a sausage biscuit, and we bought a bag of donut holes home for the rest of the crew.  The breakfast eats were tasty and the man working (I suspect he was the owner) was friendly and offered great customer service. 

Date with Merry Collage January 31 2013

We then walked off the sugar during our 15 minutes journey back home, I picked up Betsie, and we went shopping for a couple of hours including buying the fixings for Chex Mix. Betsie and another girl are road-tripping up to MUW for a leadership conference this weekend and everyone knows that good food to munch on is one of the best parts of a road trip.

After Krogering, she dropped me off at Rooster's in the Fondren neighborhood where I met my First Baptist Church of Jackson prayer partner for the first time. Beth Aldridge is a lovely woman who, incidentally, graduated from MUW just a decade before I did. We hit it off right away playing the "do you know so-n-so" game, getting to know each other, sharing prayer requests, and completely enjoying our yummy Rooster eats and iced tea. Then, knowing I'd really been indulging with two meals eaten out in one day, I made the decision to walk the two miles home. It was a beautiful, blue-sky afternoon with a temperature just coo; enough to make a long walk refreshing. I picked up some hubcaps along the way that I thought I might hang up on Travis' walls as decorations and couldn't help but smile at the image I must have presented walking down the busy thoroughfare with my load of junk treasure.

The rest of the day included some nice dark chocolate, a good phone conversation with a Five-in-a-Row mommy pal, some quiet time, Hands and Feet ministry, the weekly We Will Go Bible study, a bit of a visit with my bestie Rhonda when she and her Mr. picked their kids up, and a big bowl of Tex Mex popcorn while watching Downton Abbey. Now I'm waiting for Betsie's Chex Mix to be ready before I call it a night and head to bed and read for a while.

As I said, it has been a thoroughly lovely Thursday and I thank my Lord for it. He blesses me so extravagantly!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY

And if you are a fan as I am, no more words are needed to describe how my evening's been spent.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

THANK YOU, AMAZING and MIGHTY GOD!

I asked you to pray for missionary Nick Boyd in Mozambique. Nick was seriously ill with malaria. He lives with his wife Marlene in an area with no modern hospitals.

Nick and Marlene Boyd Missionaries Mozambique

Today, Nick posted this on his facebook:

THANKING JESUS & ALL OF YOU who have prayed and interceded on my behalf because I'm ALIVE and pretty much HEALED in Jesus name! Woke up today feeling much much better and so full of joy! We've been overwhelmed by the love and prayer support from friends and family and people we don't even know all around the world! I'm more than thankful for each of you praying and sending love to us here in Africa! Sunday night was really scary...I felt like I was gonna die. Praise Jesus it's not my time to go! And a special thanks to my amazing lovely wife who has taken better care of me than any doctor could ever do...she's been by my side covering me in prayer & worship every minute...please feel free to share this status so everybody won't worry anymore. Jesus is so so good! Thank you all again so very much! HALLELUJAH!


Thank you all so much for your prayers.

Thank You, Amazing and Mighty God. Truly, You are a God of miracles. 


Read more about the Boyd's mission work in Tete, Mozambique, and even send them a note of encouragement http://pioneer61.org/.

Monday, January 28, 2013

PLEASE KEEP PRAYING

In last night's blog post, I mentioned Nick Boyd's need for prayer. Nick and Marlene met a few years ago while both serving the Lord in Mozambique.


Nick and Marlene Boyd Mozambique

After marrying, they moved to Tete, Mozambique, where they have become the spiritual parents for boys living on the streets and dump piles, eating rat-like rodents and without the bare basics that most of us in America take for granted every single day.

Nick and Marlene Boyd building home in Mozambique

Nick and Marlene are totally sold out for Jesus. They love Him passionately and love their boys with a fierceness that makes all the sacrifices of living in Northern Mozambique totally worth it.

Nick is seriously ill now with malaria. They live in an area without a modern hospital. Marlene and others are caring for him at home. Marlene posted this on her facebook wall earlier today:
"Please continue to pray for my husband, he cannot hold anything down and he keeps going to the bathroom...I'm trusting my papa God! It is so very hard to be so far away from our families and friends in a country where they don't have good hospitals. All we have and need is JESUS!"

Marlene's sister said in an earlier post that he is "super weak, pale, cold to the touch, and having trouble breathing" and "is going to the bathroom so much that he can't go to the hospital", "he is dehydrated".

Nick and Marlene Boyd

Please pray for God to miraculously heal Nick. Restore him to his full strength and give strength and peace to Marlene and their Mozambican boys as they take care of him far from their family back here in the States Family and friends may be too far to "be there" but God never is.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

REALLY NEED YOUR PRAYERS

I've got some pretty serious things I really need you to pray about right now.

Our home at sunset. #blessings #godisgood #lifeatwewillgo

The first is for my spirit and mind. Since moving to We Will Go, the Lord has just supernaturally delivered me from the fear that used to hold me in bondage. Something has happened that Satan is now using to attack me emotionally and I am freaking out in fear, scared to the point of tears. Don't worry, all my kids are fine. I know with my head that ultimately, the peace and protection we have here does not come from things of this earth, from circumstances, and that my trust must be in Him and Him alone but I need to get this back in my spirit. Jim said he believes that this time God is telling me to choose peace. To choose NOT to be afraid. To choose not to let Satan have me in bondage. Pray that I have the strength to choose to trust Him. Pray that I have the mind of Christ. Pray that I can stand. I can not do this apart from His Spirit. And do please pray for God to move strongly in the related situation. Nothing is too big for God!

The second is for a miracle of healing. Nick Boyd is a missionary in Mozambique who has a serious case of malaria. God is bigger than malaria. He is bigger than any disease. He healed people in the Bible times and He is still the healing God today. Please pray for Nick's body to be healed of this sickness and for him to fully recover. He and his wife Marlene minister to street boys in Tete, Mozambique. You can read more about their work at their website: http://pioneer61.org/

Thank you, friends. We could not do what we do here in Jackson without prayer and missionaries around the world depend on the prayers of the saints to help them in this fight against darkness.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

ELEMENTS OF THE DAY

Chocolate chip and banana pancakes * deer meat sausage * day out with Betsie * Sweet Peppers turkey and avocado * browsing Charming Charlies


Mommy/daughter day #Movie #betsie

 * Les Miserables * popcorn and soda truck mishap * matching Woman 2 Woman shirts * Seeds scripture memory songs * making cookie dough balls * facebook * a cleaned foyer * Olivia Lancaster's birthday party * We Will Go family * Keifer's * strawberry cake and tres leches cake * pizza * family movie night * Speed Racer * Jackie Pullinger's Chasing the Dragon

Friday, January 25, 2013

KEPT FROM STUMBLING

Beautiful are the feet that bring good news. #scriptureverse . . Psalm 116 . 1-6 I love God because he listened to me, listened as I begged for mercy. He listened so intently as I laid out my case before him. Death stared me in the face, hell was hard on my heels. Up against it, I didn’t know which way to turn; then I called out to God for help: “Please, God!” I cried out. “Save my life!” God is gracious—it is he who makes things right, our most compassionate God. God takes the side of the helpless; when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me. 7-8 I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings. Soul, you’ve been rescued from death; Eye, you’ve been rescued from tears; And you, Foot, were kept from stumbling.” 9-11 I’m striding in the presence of God, alive in the land of the living! I stayed faithful, though bedeviled, and despite a ton of bad luck, Despite giving up on the human race, saying, “They’re all liars and cheats.” 12-19 What can I give back to God for the blessings he’s poured out on me? I’ll lift high the cup of salvation—a toast to God! I’ll pray in the name of God; I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do, and I’ll do it together with his people. When they arrive at the gates of death, God welcomes those who love him. Oh, God, here I am, your servant, your faithful servant: set me free for your service! I’m ready to offer the thanksgiving sacrifice and pray in the name of God. I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do, and I’ll do it in company with his people, In the place of worship, in God’s house, in Jerusalem, God’s city. Hallelujah!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

THIS TIME


This time last year, the whole family was in Swaziland.

P1210082 Family on Safari Re-sized

This time next year, Anna and Betsie will both be starting their Spring college semesters while Jim, the 5 younger kids, and I will be in Swaziland again. This time, we'll be starting our new life as American Africans.

Wow, wow, wow.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

REMEMBER SURRENDER



Listening to my Sara Groves playlist on Spotify this morning and thinking that some of you need to remember that God provided before what you needed and He can do it again. Trust Him.


Remember surrender
Remember the rest
Remember that weight lifting off of your chest
And realizing that it's not up to you and it never was


Remember surrender
Remember relief
Remember how tears rolled down both of your cheeks
As the warmth of a heavenly Father came closing in


I want to do that again
Why can't I live there
And make my home
In sweet surrender
I want to do so much more than remember


Remember surrender
Remember peace
Remember how soundly you fell fast asleep
In the face of your troubles your future still shone like the morning sun


Remember surrender
Remember that sound
Of all of those voices inside dying down
But One who speaks clearly of helping and healing you deep within


I want to do that again
Why can't I live there
And make my home
In sweet surrender
I want to do so much more than remember
Remember
Oh surrender


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

SWEET TRUST


Tonight was the last night that Swirly Treats was opened for customers. All three of my oldest children have worked there so we have spent a lot of happy hours hanging out there and eating their yogurt, my kids have learned many job skills and relational lessons through their time spent working there, and it has been a great source of financial provision for them. They've been able to work there, earn the money they need, and still not have to work on Sundays. Their boss has also been always fair and tried to work with their schedules so they could be off for important ministry and family events.
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Last night that Swirly Treats is open for customers.  Anna, Betsie, and David have all worked there.  We are sad to see it close but are looking forward to seeing how God provides for them in the weeks and months to come.

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To commemorate the last night, our famiy --- the biological one and some of our ministry folks --- invaded Swirly Treats. Over frozen yogurt and lots of yummy toppings, we laughed and shared our hearts and laughed some more. Oh yeah, and I took lots of photos.
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We Will Go invades Swirly Treats. #wewillgoministries #lifeatwewillgo #smiles #friends #family #food #swirlytreats #betsie #david #familyfun #missionaries #missionarykid

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Though it is sad to see Swirly Treats closing, we're also in a state of anticipation. David will be looking for a new job, preferably one in the downtown area so he can just walk to work, and Betsie is stepping out on a new faith journey. God has made it clear to her that He wants her to stay freed up to serve more fully here at We Will Go so she'll be just be doing for-pay jobs like babysitting or pitching in as a substitute at a friend's business. For both of them, we are trusting their Heavenly Father to be their provision and it will be exciting to see just how He does this because we are learning more and more that He is faithful to always give us what we need to obey His direction.
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"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else,
and live righteously,
and he will give you everything you need."
--- Matthew 6:33

Monday, January 21, 2013

GOD PLANTED DREAMS



Today, 100 students and faculty from Belhaven University converged on We Will Go for a Martin Luther King Day time of service. Jim and I talked to them about dreams...dreams that have turned into nightmares and dreams that God is planting in their lives. We encouraged them to turn those broken dreams over to God and not to let anything hold them back from following the dreams that He wants them to live out.

After a wonderful time of sharing, worship, scripture, and prayer in the pavilion, we split up into 10 different groups. Travis and Jim's group picked up trash and limbs in an abandoned lot. Betsie's group did the same on a square adjacent to Farish Street. Patrick helped fellow missionary Levi deliver wood to a man whose only source of heat is a wood burning heater. David spread gravel and cleaned up a lot. Laura Grace worked in the clothing ministry sorting clothes and organizing it better. Merry and I were assigned to lead a group packing lunches for hungry neighbors who come to our door. We finished quickly enough to allow us to walk over, praying along the way, and show them Base 2 before heading to Church Street.

Belhaven Group

Merry had the idea of taking chalk and writing on the sidewalks and street scripture verses, pictures, and words of life. We wrote out dreams that we have for our city --- things like life, salvation, and love.

Praying that the church in Jackson will really be the church. #mlkday #belhaven #volunteers #prayer #smiles

Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream that one day, black and white people would be able to live together in harmony. That children of different races and classes could play together. That regardless of a person's skin, they would have the equal opportunity to live lives of freedom. Whether he said it in these exact words or not, he dreamed that one day each person could pursue their own dreams.

I talked with the girls on my team about what Dr. King wanted for his people and his nation and though we agreed that he would be glad about much of the changes that have occurred, he'd be saddened by other things. He would smile to see us, a mixed group praying together and working together, but his heart would hurt to see so many still trapped in poverty and despair.

But more than Dr. King's heart hurting, God's heart hurts. He wants the people that He has created to walk in victory and wholeness. He wants them to live in peace and freedom. He wants children to be able to ride their bikes down the street and play in vacant lots without fear. He wants the old to be able to sleep at night without worries. He wants husbands to love their wives forever. He wants people only controlled by His spirit, not the drugs and alcohol that hold so many captive in our neighborhood.

But it isn't just enough to dream of what this city should look like. And it isn't just enough to hope the government or even a lot of nice people to be able to bring about true and lasting change.

What this city, our nation, the world needs, is God.

That sounds really simply because it really is simple.

Only
the power of God --- His love, His redemption, His power, His provision, His presence --- can bring true life back to this city.

And He wants to, He chooses to use us, His church.

Today, my group prayed that the churches of Jackson would become the true church of Christ. That we'd really become the hands and feet of our Master. That we'd quit playing religious games and think that being a Christian was only about following rules and being "good". We prayed that we Christians would really let the Spirit of God live in and through us so that we bring His light into dark places. That we would be doing the things that Jesus calls us to do.

What about you? If you call yourself a follower of Jesus, are you really following Him? Are you listening to His voice and hearing those dreams, those plans, He wants you to be a part of? And then are you doing them?

Let's make these dreams for our families, our city, our nation, and our world become a reality.

We can...with Him.

Only, only, only with Him and by Him and through Him.

I have a dream.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

REBUILD THE FOUNDATIONS

“If you get rid of unfair practices,
    quit blaming victims,
    quit gossiping about other people’s sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
    and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
    your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
    I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—
    firm muscles, strong bones.
You’ll be like a well-watered garden,
    a gurgling spring that never runs dry.


1744


You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
    rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You’ll be known as those who can fix anything,
    restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
    make the community livable again."

 Isaiah 58:11-13

Saturday, January 19, 2013

AND AGAIN

That's right. Yet another full day of family fun and missionary life at We Will Go with barely anytime for blogging or getting on the computer.


Geo-caching downtown Jackson.

My friends, the Gregsons, are still here visiting at We Will Go. We spent this morning working hard around the mission base (sorting clothes, cleaning, working on the vans, etc.) and then spent the evening geocaching around downtown Jackson. That was a first for us and we really had a great time. Looking for the hidden boxes was a cool adventure (in a cemetery, a park frequented by our homeless friends, and a wall of honor for soldiers) and it was also very interesting walking around the heart of Jackson after dark when the streets were nearly deserted and we could take the time to look in restaurant windows, notice architectural details, and --- of course --- take lots of pictures.

Friday, January 18, 2013

AGAIN?

Yep, another day so full, I barely had any pc time. But that's okay. I will have time some other day. For now, I am loving having my friend Denise and her family here. I am already dreading their departure.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

WANNA KNOW WHY?

Wanna know the reasons I've not been on the computer the whole day and even this is being posted via my phone?

We woke up to around 4 inches of snow today --- a rare pleasure around these parts --- plus Jim and I had a retirement planning seminar today (we're coming Swaziland!) and one of my dearest friends in the whole wide world arrived with her family this afternoon.

Thanks God for a blessing-filled Thursday! A day too filled for even ME to make time fort the pc. And that's saying something.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

ALL YOU CAN EAT BUFFET

As I finish reading Jen Hatmaker's book 7: AN EXPERIMENTAL MUTINY AGAINST EXCESS, and condsider the periods of fasting our ministry is walking through and our church will soon participate in as part of the Lenten Season, I meditate on these quotes from it:

Crowned by a cookie! #christmasday2012

"At some point, the church stopped living the Bible and decided just to study it, culling the feast parts and whitewashing the fast parts. We are addicted to the buffet, skillfully discarding the costly discipleship required after consuming. The feast is supposed to sustain the fast, but we go back for seconds and thirds and fourths, stuffed to the brim and fat with inactivity. All this is for me. My goodness, my blessings, my privileges, my happiness, my success. Just one more plate"

*"When the fast, the death, the sacrifice of the gospel is omitted from the Christian life, then it isn't Christian at all. Not only that, it's boring. If I just want to feel good or get self-help, I'll buy a $12 book from Borders and join a gym. The church the Bible described is exciting and adventurous and wrought with sacrifice. It cost believers everything and they still came. It was good news to the poor and stumped its enemies. The church was patterned after a Savior who had no place to lay his head and voluntarily died a brutal death, even knowing we would reduce the gospel to a self-serving personal improvement program where people were encouraged to make a truce witht heir Maker and stop sinning and join the church, when in fact the gospel does not call for a truce but a complete surrender"
Oh Lord, help us.

Monday, January 14, 2013

GOD IS GOOD and I'M NOT


Driving home Friday, after running errands and attending homeschool group, I was thinking about how tired I was. I was actually thinking about how super wiped-out I feel most Fridays after homeschool group and errand running.

As we pulled up in front of our home here at We Will Go, I saw a man come around the corner on his bicycle and stop just behind the van. I saw through the rear view mirror that he was staring at the van.

This is a fair representation of my thoughts at that moment:

"Oh great. That man is looking at the van like he wants or needs something. Really? I am so tired. I just wanna go in the house and chill. I do not want to help anyone or talk to anyone or do anything for anyone. Maybe if I stall getting out of the van he will just give up and go away. Okay, talk to the kids. Find things to prolong getting out of the van.

The kids are getting out of the van. Maybe he'll see that we're unloading groceries and we're really busy and he'll go away. Or maybe he'll ask for food when he sees the groceries.

Why is he still there? Can't he see I'm not getting out of the van?

Okay, so I'm getting out of the van and dealing with this."

I kid you not. These were my thoughts. And then this is what happened as best as I can remember:

I get out of the van and greet the man and ask him if I can help him with anything (even though I don't want to help him with anything). He reminds me that he had come by the week earlier looking for work boots. He is a security guard and has to have black boots and the ones he had were tearing up and uncomfortable. Jim had looked in the ministry shop the last time he came by to no avail so had told him to come back.

So he did.

And now I was helping him whether I wanted to or not.

But I'd just been working in the shop the day before and knew we didn't have any.

I told him to hold on and let me look in my foyer because we'd gotten some donations and maybe there were some black boots in his size among the bags.

Yeah right.

Like that's gonna happen.

So I open the door and there are bags of donations that hadn't been there when I left four hours ago now sitting on top of the older donations. Among the new donations is a bag of shoes. With boots. Black ones. Just one size larger than he requested. He wanted an 11, these were a 12.

Wow.

I took them out and showed them to him. They were nice. They were in new or like-new condition and they had big, fat rubber soles and good support. The size even looked right despite what the number said. We both agreed that a size bigger was better than a size smaller.

I told him that God was obviously looking after him because those boots had not been there when I left but had gotten dropped off just in time to be ready for him to come by on that Friday afternoon.

Now hear me on this, we do get a lot of donations, but boot donations aren't super common and especially not like-new black boots in a size that will work for him. We're not a big box store getting boots by the dozens. We're just a bunch of folks who feel called to live together and love our neighbors and we give away whatever happens to be dropped off by some really sweet people. I can sort through 3 or 4 dozen bags and not come across a single pair of black work boots.

Pile of donations equals a pile of blessings for those in need. #handsandfeetministry #lifeatwewillgo #jesuslove

But God wanted this man to have the boots he needed for his job because the God who cares about each little sparrow that falls cares even more about a man made in His image. This is a man that Father God loves so much He sent His only begotten Son Jesus to die for on the cross 2,000 years ago. This is a man that God loves so much He somehow arranged this beautiful demonstration of His love in such a way that this man would know God sees Him and wants to be His good Father.

Because God is good, always, and I am not.

Any good that does dwell in me is strictly because of Him.

And I love how He is so faithful to remind me of this truth.

You know what else I love? That He is kind enough to let me be a part of the blessing even when I'm a reluctant conduit and don't deserve sharing in the glory of it all. Kind enough to include me, use me, and even forgive me.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, 
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, 
 who does not change like shifting shadows.
 --- 
James 1:17

Sunday, January 13, 2013

PRAY FOR THIS WIMP

Pray for me this afternoon. I am feeling wimpy and self-pitying.

Every Sunday at We Will Go, the team is assigned different jobs --- serve food, lead worship, brief the volunteers,drive the van to pick up folks, etc. Today, I am assigned "street love". This means I stand at the gate or out on the street and pray, greet neighbors, and just show the love of Jesus however I can.

Who knew we had riverfront property? #weather #lovehouse #lifeatwewillgo

And today it is raining.  And cold.

But I gotta still show love.

Can I be honest? I'm really dreading this. I don't like being cold and wet. I also don't like my hair to get bedraggled. I'm feeling sorry for myself.

Just being real here.

This is when I have to do like I talked about in last night's blog post. I have to remind myself of what is true and ask God to get me over myself and focus on Him, His goodness, and His love.

I need the Holy Spirit to remind me when I'm shivering and wishing I was inside under fluffy blankets that Jesus left the temperature-is-always-perfect-and-it-never-gets-muddy Heaven and came to this messed up world for me. And for you. And for my neighbors.

He came to a world filled with dust and mud. Extreme heat and freezing cold. Hunger and pain. Rejection and abuse.

He came willingly.

He came because He was compelled by love.

And He faced it all with joy.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." --- Hebrews 12:1-2

He faced a whole lot more than a couple of hours out in the cold rain. He faced death itself but did it with us in mind and His Father in mind.

This afternoon, pray for me. Pray that when I'm tempted to complain or feel sorry for myself or not serve as fully as I should that I will keep my eyes on Jesus and remember that He is worth it...and so are the ones He died for.

I'm not being asked to go to a concentration camp or be stoned for my faith or lose my home. For goodness sake, I'm simply being asked to stand under an umbrella in the cold Mississippi rain and pray for and love that prostitute, drug addict, rejected child, and fancy church person. They all need Jesus. They all need His love. They all need His life.

And instead of feeling sorry for myself, I should be rejoicing that He is letting me in on that loving.

So pray, okay?

Thanks.

PLAN A, B, or C?

Well, my blogging intentions were good. For over a day now, I've mentally been writing a post and hoped to get to it tonight.

But.....yeah, here goes that "but" excuse...

I spent all morning and into the early afternoon leading volunteers here at We Will Go, then I went with Jim to help a neighbor, back to the house to start sorting bags and bags of donations, and except for a one hour break for supper and a book, I sorted clothes til nearly 11:00 at night.

I don't say this to exalt myself or stir up sympathy. This is just life. My new life anyway. Some of y'all are even busier and don't even have the luxury for a book break while supping on popcorn and Bing cherries. Others of you are where I was at one time, yeah, I had stuff to do, but I almost always had at least two or three hours of downtown at some point in the day to take a nap, watch some tv, or write long blog posts.

When it became obvious that my well-thought out blog post wasn't going to happen, I was a little bummed but I hoped I could get in bed with the family iPad and pull together pics and write my "Plan B" post quickly since it had gotten really late. That plan was thwarted when the iPad couldn't pick up an Internet signal.

So hear I am, pondering how easy it is for plans to be turned upside down and reminding myself that it isn't the end if the world.

It is so easy to get caught in the sibling traps of control and perfectionism. When something comes along and makes both of those unrealistic, we can get stressed out, turn angrily critical, just give up, or throw a pity party.

"Poor me. If only I was already living in Africa I would have plenty of time for blogging and the Internet would be so much better than this ghetto connection"

I think I forgot to mention that we can also become delusional when things don't go our way.

But God.

But God tells me to be content in all things. He reminds me that He is the only one wholly in control. He brings to mind people who have it a lot worse than I do and have had any semblance of control or an orderly life yanked from them. And He nudges me to remember Romans 8:28.

ALL THINGS work together for the food of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, to make them like Jesus.

I love Him so that means me. He wants to use sketchy Internet and long days and it-ain't-happening blog posts for my good and His glory. He wants me to say YES to His Spirit working in my life to keep cleaning out all the nasty stuff.

Sometimes we are called to say "yes" in the midst of truly tragic or immensely trying times. Most of the time, though, He is telling us to say "yes" to Him in things we face every single day. He wants us to say "yes" when there's only one customer service rep at the counter and the line is out the door so the result is actually no customer service. He wants the same response when the kids won't smile for family portraits and the toilet overflows. He wants that affirmative attitude when the precious daughter is having a mental breakdown over math problems or the teenager dresses very inappropriately for church but it isn't noticed til she gets out of the van upon arrival.

These are all little things, but they can make our heads spin so fast, our earrings fly off at speeds that can impale nearby innocents, or not so innocents, too. Or just make us despair that things will never, ever get easier and I just need to feel really sorry for myself and self-medicate with some fair trade dark chocolate.

So that is where I stand tonight.

Actually, that is where I sit propped up against pillows on my bed.

So, I choose to spiritually suck it up and go with "Plan C".

I write a blog post on my phone about how my plans didn't work out the way I wanted them to and I was really tempted to get all stressed and resentful and stay up way too late trying to make Plan A or at least Plan B work and in the process, I remind myself of a lot if important God truths and end up okay with Plan C and thankful that God loves me even when I can so easily act and think like a brat.

Which is all too often, but thankfully because of the promise found in Romans 8:28, it isn't as often as it used to be.

And that is always God's Plan A. He lives me enough to want my life to be transformed into something beautiful. Something whole and radiant. Something loving and pure.

He wants me to be like Jesus.

Friday, January 11, 2013

WHERE WE SERVE

This video is about the ministry that we live at and serve with. It was made before we moved to We Will Go but the story is still the same. Folks who love Jesus just living to love Him and love our neighbors that He brings our way.



It is as simple as that. Just love people as you would want to be loved.

And if you look closely, you'll see our kids in a few of the images, granted, a lot younger than they are now.

But that's part of the beauty of it. I love that my kids are growing up viewing this kind of life as just absolutely normal.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A FUNNY REMINDER

I love my life. And I love my kids. I know, I know. Almost ALL moms love their kids. But some days I'm reminded how fun it really can be to be a mom. Not every moment is spent refereeing toy wars or listening to wails related to homeschool assignments.

Anna has been home for a couple of weeks over the holidays and she's great at keeping track of cute things her younger siblings say and do. On Boxing Day, we took the whole family to see The Hobbit. Seven year old Merry was quite impressed.

Whole family at The Hobbit!  18 thumbs up!!!

Earlier this week, Anna reported this on her facebook:

"I hope I marry a man named Thorin. If not, I'll just call him that.
 That'll be a big compliment to him."

 7 year old Merry taking her crush on Thorin--the dwarf from The Hobbit--to the next level.

Like I said, I love my life. I love my kids.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

HAPPINESS IS...

...getting to go out in my very own yard and pick gorgeous, voluptuous broccoli to fix for supper.

Happiness is broccoli picked fresh from my own yard and ...  12/2012 #healthyliving #goodformeeating #veggies #food #lifeatwewillgo #blessings

And to add to that foodie happiness? Because it was raining, I didn't even have to wash it off. I just cut it up, put it in a cast iron skillet with some olive oil, and within 15 minutes of being picked, it was ready to eat.


... and straight into the skillet literally within a few minutes of picking. 12/2012 #veggies #healthyliving #goodformeeating #food #lifeatwewillgo #blessings

Okay, I know it's not something big, but finding joy in the little things means days spent in a grateful attitude. And every day, I'm finding more and more blessings to be thankful for if I'll just open my eyes and my heart to see them and appreciate them for what they are.

I encourage you to also look around you for those gifts. Sometimes we have to look hard. They might be hidden among some weeds are buried under dirt and rubble, but they are there. Just ask God to open your eyes to see His goodness.

I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Psalm 34:1-8

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

OVER THE FLOOD

White water 'hood style. #lifeatwewillgo #lovehouse #christmasday2012

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
The Lord gives strength to his people;
the Lord blesses his people with peace.

Psalm 29:10-11

Monday, January 07, 2013

THIS TIME

This time last year, we were getting ready to leave for our family missionary trip to Swaziland. We were organizing donated items, starting to pack, raising funds, buying and borrowing needed items, working out our itinerary, and communicating with folks in Africa.

P1050267 Girls with items for Swaziland

This January, we are living at We Will Go, enjoying Anna home for her first Christmas break, and seeking God's direction for decisions and preparations that must be made before we move to Swaziland at the end of this year as well as seeking direction for our time of ministry here in Jackson.

Laura says they are world fixers. #lifeatwewillgo #family #familyfun #gointoalltheworld #lifeatwewillgo

And this time next year? We expect to be moved to Swaziland and beginning the settling in process. We're hoping that Anna and Betsie will be with us as they'll have a month off from college at Christmas. While most of our Stateside friends will be bundled up, drinking hot cocoa, and running their heaters, we'll be enjoying our first Southern African summer break and all the swimming, braiis (cook-outs), and outdoor activities that entails. Jim will be preparing to start his new life as a Bible teacher and I'll be blissfully getting back into my Swazi groove.

What about you?  What were you doing this time last year and what do you expect to be doing this time next year?  And what about now?

 
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
  Ecclesiastes 3:1




Sunday, January 06, 2013

DAYS and NIGHTS OF REST

I hope your first day of the new year has been filled with meaningful worship, powerful teaching, heartfelt fellowship, and some true rest.

Pray for little Miss Merry.  She is feeling yucky, so bad in fact that she stayed home from an afternoon We Will Go worship service.  She ALWAYS wants to be in the worship pavilion so this speaks volumes.  Big sister Anna is also sleeping and not feeling

Sundays are pretty busy around here with our regular church in morning and then service and team time here at We Will Go in the afternoon and on into the evening. Some days I do miss my traditional Sunday afternoon naps, but knowing that we're doing exactly what God is calling us to do for this season of our family's life is worth it and I do appreciate greatly that my thoughtful hubby enacted Monday mornings as a time of rest for us. It is even a sweeter gesture because he still has to get up and go to work.

So enjoy your last bit of Sunday and hope you have sweet dreams leading into a new week. This missionary mama is now signing off and after a bit of exercising, will also be enjoying some sweet Sunday rest, hopefully a nightful!

Saturday, January 05, 2013

ASLEEP

A couple of days ago, I shared a post written by my sister-in-law Deidra. She went to Africa for the first time this past summer and is now walking out all that she experienced and God showed her. Here's one she wrote a week or so before Christmas:


 sleep lazy zzz awake sunrise morning



 I woke up under an acacia tree, the wide, tear-filled eyes of a Kenyan child staring down at me. I sat up, startled, only to find myself surrounded by blood and carnage. The child next to me continued to wail and cry as I tried to comprehend the scene in which I found myself. Everywhere I looked, there was blood, gore, and the bodies of dismembered puppies. That’s when I woke up.

I stumbled to the kitchen this morning, heart pounding, mind racing. Where had that dream come from? Those images? I felt physically sick. It was only after I sat down with my coffee and began praying that God brought the rest of the dream to mind.

In my dream, I struggled to make sense of all that surrounded me. I knew I was in Kenya but little else. The child kept asking me why I hadn’t stopped the man from hurting the puppies. I answered that I hadn’t even known anything was happening while I slept. In my dream, I began to remember how I’d come to find myself under that acacia tree. Originally, I’d gone to Kenya to work in a factory. The man who gave me a ride to the factory was a fellow believer, but after only a few days of work, I found myself feeling rejected by the other workers, feeling like I didn’t belong. So I started spending my free time in the car. Breaks and lunch hours soon turned to entire afternoons, and I realized that the only time I saw my fellow worker was when he drove us back and forth to the factory. I spent most of the time in the car sleeping, and after awhile, I quit waking up even for the drive. I guess that’s why he left me under the acacia tree; maybe somebody else needed that seat – somebody awake and willing to work.

So, how is this dream relevant to anything?

Since returning from Kenya this summer, I’ve struggled with the sheer excess and waste that seems to define our culture, excess that stands out so clearly to me now – my own and that of others. Giving voice to it only makes me sound judgmental and critical, so I’ve internalized a lot of it and just come across as depressed. I went Christmas shopping for the first time yesterday, and my hours amid the holiday hustle and bustle left me in tears and feeling physically ill. It wasn’t that so many people were awful (although there were plenty), it was the sheer excess. We have so much stuff, and yet we climb over one another trying to obtain more stuff when so many have nothing – no stuff, no food, no home, nothing. But then I felt guilty for feeling critical. After all, last Christmas I’d been filling up my buggy at Stuff Mart too, equating lots of packages with lots of love. As I wrestled with my emotions, it crossed my mind that maybe things would be a whole lot simpler if I’d just quit thinking about Africa. Go back to being a good ole American. Figure out a way to take my kids to Disney World for the first time this summer instead of on a mission trip. These were my thoughts as I went to sleep last night.

Which brings me back to my dream. In it, I was asleep. I chose to sleep rather than do the work God put before me. After all, if I was rejected by man that must have meant I missed God, right? Well, by that logic, Jesus Christ missed God by mile. And once I went to sleep, not only did I miss out on the work God had sent me to do, but I also failed to protect the helpless. I was right there, under the tree, where this terrible crime was being committed, yet I slept through the cries, the terror, and the bloodshed.

That’s when I heard His voice, so clearly, as I sat at my dining room table. “You’re asleep. You’re warm and comfortable and you don’t even know what you’re missing. Wake Up!”

But what good does it do to be awake, if there doesn’t seem to be anything you can do to make a difference? One person can’t stop the abortion mills. One person can’t save the starving orphans in Africa. One person can’t do much of anything on his own. But God can. He can use one person to change a life. To change the lives of thousands. But only if we’re awake. If we’re ready. If we’re expectant. If we’re willing to be obedient, even in obscurity, even in rejection, even in the uncomfortable and the unknown.

What does God require of us? To do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before Him (Micah 6:8). And while we do justice, love mercy and walk humbly before Him, we are to do so with a spirit of expectancy (Isaiah 43:18-19) forgetting the former things because He is doing a new thing. If we are doing the work He has set before us, eyes open, hearts expectant, then when He shows us a new direction, we will know immediately what He requires of us; we’ll be ready to go. And we’ll obey knowing that we might never see the fruit of our labor, never receive any recognition or praise for our work. We have to let that go. All that matters is our obedience. That’s what He uses to change the world. (My pastor, Dwayne Higgason, gets credit for this part - it's this morning's sermon in a nutshell).

The little town of Bethlehem slept away a night over 2000 years ago and missed some pretty important stuff.

What are we missing while we're asleep?

To read more of Deidra's blog, visit here: http://30daysofgracechallange.blogspot.com/

Friday, January 04, 2013

HAPPINESS IS...

Happiness is a houseful of kids...

Part crew silly. #party #friends #smiles #sillyface #lifeatwewillgo



 ...even when half of that houseful is someone else's kids. Anna are gone to Atlanta for Passion 2013 and David was at work most of the time, but the house didn't stay very empty for long. That's just the way it is around here.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

AWAKE!

My sister-in-law Deidra, as many of you know, went to Africa for the first time this past summer. God was already working in her life and heart but now He is growing her in crazy, light speed ways. Here's what has been in her mind and heart lately:

choose this day who you will serve scripture verse blog sign christianity obedience  

Everywhere I turn, I hear God calling His people to change, radical change. I see it on Facebook, read it in John Eldredge's book Waking the Dead, hear it in the words of the speakers at Passion 2013, and find it repeated daily in my devotionals.

Change can be scary, especially radical change. What if I offend? If I get it wrong? If I don't do enough? This fear can paralyze us, keeping us from doing anything at all. Forgo all change rather than risk the wrong kind of change.

Like Peter, we're in our little boat, shielded from wind and waves. But Jesus says, "Come." So, in obedience, we step out of the boat and into the raging storm. But here's hope: it isn't up to us to stay afloat. That's God's domain. His is the responsibility for this present moment. Ours is simply to obey. We don't have to know where we are going. Or what we should say. Or who we should say it to. That is God's domain. All He requires is that we are willing, that we say "yes, Lord" when He speaks our name, and that we step out, in faith, in the direction He points.

Simple obedience doesn't seem radical, but it is. It's radical because it requires that we be awake. And honestly, most of us are asleep. Of course, we don't think that we're asleep. But then, do zombies think they're zombies? How much of our life just happens to us? How much are we deliberate in making happen? And how much of our life slips by, unnoticed, until hours become days, and days become years, and years become just the way things are?

Joshua 24:15 is a familiar verse to most believers; we find it on little plaques, bookmarks, cross-stitch pillows, and honestly, we've made this verse cliche. We say it, wear it, display it, but do we really live it? Notice the very first word. Choose. A verb. Something you do!

Radical change is about doing, about choosing. Choosing to obey. Choosing to step out in faith. Choosing to be uncomfortable. Choosing to be awake.

The great point of Abraham’s faith in God was that he was prepared to do anything for God. --- Oswald Chambers

What am I prepared to do for God?

To read more of Deidra's writings, visit her blog: http://30daysofgracechallange.blogspot.com/