Saturday, December 7, 2013

Because you are willing

There are the sounds of pots and silverware being put away.  

A sliding sound, which I think is the cutting board, and then chopping.  Sizzling sound follow with the refrigerator opening and closing.

Later I hear the dishwasher running.  Shortly after I am given a delicious meal. 

And the kitchen is clean.  

What an amazing husband.  Even just today he has made me breakfast, lunch, snack, fruit, and supper.  I haven't helped.  I've laid on the couch and felt nauseated and extremely grateful.  

There are things I did not think of when I got married.  I did not think about being sick for months on end and pregnant.  I did not imagine I would be so dependent on others.  But here I am.  



(Hungry and tired...but more tired than hungry.)

And here is this man I married.  Cleaning the house.  Cooking meals.  Showing me love over and over again.

However, there are things I did think of before I got married.  I thought of what the character of the man I would marry.  Did he love Jesus?  Was he a servant leader?  At our wedding we washed each other's feet as a symbol of lifetime service of love to each other, following Jesus' example.



Each day he washes my feet symbolically as he serves me and our child.  Our son.  













One day I was sharing how I felt not as pretty and attractive because of the change in my body and the next day he wrote this:





















(I created this frame for us and we wipe off what goes after "Our marriage is" and change it every now and then.)

He continues to amaze me.  I count him as multiple blessing each day.  

Even at night he serves me.  I have been going to bed very early and I don't like to go to bed alone.  So I ask him to come with me and he does.  He rubs my back and reads to me each night to help me relax to fall asleep and then once I'm asleep he will do homework or whatever else in bed so I can have him near me.

In the mornings if he can see that it is a rough morning he will read devotions to me.  Taking the initiative as the spiritual leader to help me when I'm too nauseated or tired to read myself.  

Today at church Matthew, my wonderful husband, was ordained as an elder.  He and I had prayed about him accepting being an elder when he was first asked, and we felt God leading there so he accepted.  

Today as I watched him go up and be prayed over I could not have been more filled with joy and pride.  There was a man that has served me selflessly, day and night, and not complained.  




"To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away."

1 Peter 5:1-4

These verses in Peter make me think of Matthew.  Not only because he is an ordained elder, but because he has been a shepherd to myself and our son and we are truly under his care--not because he must take care of us--but because he is willing, as God wants him to be.

I know that he will shepherd those God has given him to shepherd with the same care and selflessness that he has shown me. 

I am blessed beyond measure to be his wife and I pray that I will be a blessing back to him.  

Thank You God, for my husband, Matthew.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bubbles

When I have asked people what the baby moving feels like I get a variety of answers.  Some are not as pleasant sounding: gas.  Some are beautiful sounding: butterflies.  Neither were exactly helpful.

Last night as Matthew and I finished our home vespers I felt a bubble form to the lower right of my bellybutton and then disappear.  I felt something similar a little further to the right a little later.  I told Matthew that I thought the baby was moving.  So he reached his hand out and I placed it over where I had first felt the bubble.

We waited in silence.  Then I felt it again in the exact same spot as the first time!  Same feeling and everything.

Matthew couldn't feel it but it is so exciting to have felt the first "bubbles" of movement. I have felt "bubbles" twice before this but this was more definite to me since it was twice in the same area.

Dear Little Baby,

You are so loved.  Stay safe and growing.  We long for April to come.

All our love,

Papa & Mama


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Heartbeat

On Wednesday, October 30 we went to go hear the heartbeat of our little baby.  My previous experiences led me to believe that I would have to wait in the waiting room for a while until I was seen.  So when I had to leave school before Matthew I was pretty confident that he would still get there in time to hear the heartbeat.

Also, I had forgotten my cell phone that day, so I had no way to contact him.

Almost immediately after I signed in they called me in.  I went over financial information, etc. and was sent back out to the waiting room.  I breathed a sigh of relief that there was still time for Matthew to come.  Then they quickly called me back in again.  I told the nurse that my husband was on his way and asked if they would please let him back to the room with me.  She said if he asked for me they would bring him back.  She began her initial assessments, blood pressure and questions and then thankfully there was a knock at the door asking if "Beth-Anne White" was in this room.  And then Matthew came in.  I was so thankful to see him.

The doctor came in shortly after that with the probe and squirted gel on my stomach and began to search for the heartbeat.  I felt like I should hold my breath.  And secretly I wondered if they would find a heartbeat.  Besides being sick and gaining weight there is nothing that says I'm carrying a living baby.  The doctor said that the baby was moving around a lot and moved the probe again to find it.  And suddenly there it was.  A whirling water/wind sound.  I turned and looked at Matthew and smiled.  The doctor asked if it felt real yet.  She said we both kind of looked like we were trying to process it.  I think we are still trying to process it.  I love going to the doctor now because it is when I get to hear, or see, or know more about our baby.

I could have listened to that heartbeat for a long time.

The doctor said the heartbeat was 156 bpm.  So what we know so far is our baby has long legs, it is active, and is had a 170 bpm at the first ultrasound (but we didn't get to hear it), and 156 bpm at 15 weeks.

December 2 we go back for our gender revealing ultrasound!  Pray that the baby wants to cooperate and let us know what it is.  We can't wait!


This is a clip of someone's ultrasound heartbeat if you want to hear what it sounded like.  I don't know how many beats per minute this was: http://www.hark.com/clips/yrvllvtzsm-baby-heartbeat-14-weeks

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Doesn't He Have Anything Better to Do?

"Don't they have anything better to do? What losers!"

I often say this after reading about more terrorists attacks and mass shootings. Why aren't these killers doing something productive, or at least doing something fun with their lives? Really...? Flying into a building is your ultimate goal in life? That's lame.

We were reading Jesus' Sermon on the Mount this morning and He said this,  

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

Satan works very hard to keep us from following the narrow road to the small gate that leads to life. This led to the question: Why does Satan work so hard to distract us? Yes, of course he's trying to keep us from God, and he knows God's ways will make us happiest. But...why?

Doesn't he have anything better to do?

What profits Satan when he keeps human souls from surrendering to God? Misery loves company, yes, but it must be more than that. 

Satan works hard to keep us from God because he hates God. What do we do when we hate someone? We sacrifice our own pleasures to ensure that the object of our hatred doesn't get what they want.

Satan puts in extra hours at work because he doesn't want God to get what He wants, what He loves

Us.

God loves us greatly. Else Satan wouldn't be trying to lead us astray. Satan does have better things to do (I suppose), but because he knows of God's great passion for us, he wants to keep God from His great passion - you and me.

When you are discouraged, tempted, or are just having a bad day, recall God's deep desire to be with you. Because you are His largest love.


People

It's amazing how when there is new life to share that you miss the people who are no longer here to share that life.  They loved and shaped me.  I wish they were here to love and shape my baby, but in a way they will.  Through me their legacies will live as I share what they taught and gave me.

I want Grandpa Vanderlaan to be Great-Grandpa Vanderlaan.



I want my beautiful Aunt Teresa to hold her great niece or nephew.



I want Marissa to giggle and laugh about me having a baby.



I want Tai Tai to see her legacy of loving Jesus go to the fourth generation.



I want Caitlin, in her God filled heart, to share her sweet love and joy for this new baby and us.



And then I am overwhelmed by the love from those around me right now.  I have always been pretty self-sufficient, but not so recently.  This pregnancy has wiped me off my feet and out of commission.  Here is just a glimpse of the blessings I am counting.

Matthew being a selfless servant leader.

Students being okay if I have to eat all the time and break our school food rules.

Mama sending me cards about everyday to cheer me up and keep me going.

Students saying their praise during praise and prayer request time is that I'm having a baby.

Tima inviting us over for Sabbath lunch (and we had guest too and she fed us all!) and making sure part of her meal didn't have tomatoes in it so I could eat it.

Students praying that I don't feel nauseated anyone.

Heather giving me apple butter and ginger tea in a Christmas bag at church when I posted I was loving apple butter.

Cheryle and Sandy from the Livingston Church organizing people to bring us food to help us.  And in particular David & Jessica have brought us food every Monday for four weeks.  And all the others who made and brought food to us.  Amazing and so humbling to receive.

Students asking if I feel okay today.  One in particular asks me almost everyday.

Leslie bringing me ginger-beer to see if it helped with the  nausea and lemon ginger tea. 

Daddy and Jason going grocery shopping for us so we didn't have to go out after school and do it.

A student yesterday noticed that I wasn't feeling very good and said that if I needed any help he would help me.  It warmed my heart.

New friends Kristy & Joel expecting a baby a few weeks before ours.  Their empathy and understanding.

Julie subbing for me the last three Wednesdays so I could have time to rest.

People being kind or understanding when I can't stay long at an event, or snack on food in church.

Matthew reading devotions to me because I am too nauseated to read.

Dawn being so kind and understanding at school when I need to rest in the office or just sit for extra time at my desk.

A student giving me an arrowhead just because.

Nicole stepping in as a sub when I couldn't go on the field trip.

The collective and individual prayers of so many people.

This week at school was long because of parent-teacher conferences.  We got to school extra early and stayed extra late.  But what brought tears to my eyes this week was not the extra hours or exhaustion, but all the kindness that just keeps pouring out.  God has given us many blessings.  I want to count them all and share them with our baby.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Baby's First Bible Verse

After waiting 45 minutes I finally went into the ultrasound room.  They squirted the gel on my stomach and then the tech put down the probe. I held my breath as I watched the screen.  I waited as the tech moved the probe and suddenly there was a black area..and a baby.  Tiny but there.  And then it was kicking its legs and waving its arms.  I never expected to see it move!   The tech said, "Your baby has long legs!"  Matthew and I laughed at that.  Of course it has long legs, it's our baby!

My father and brother Jason were able to be there and they got to see the baby to. It was amazing to share that experience with them.



It was a hard thing to imagine that the baby was moving all around and I could't see it.  Or feel it.  The baby is ours and is real.  We could see his or her little face.  The nose, eyes, and mouth.



That day they also took blood work.  A routine thing.  That was a Monday and on Friday they called back to tell me that not all was normal.  My thyroid level came back low and .  I tried not to worry but I couldn't help it.  And of course then I googled it on the internet, which you should never do, and made myself worry a little more.



Sunday night I was tired but wanted to read some Psalms. So in bed I opened to where I had a bookmark in Psalms.  I would read a verse, close my eyes and pray about it, and move on.  The last verses I read before we turned out the lights were Psalm 147:12-13, "Extol the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion, for He strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you."

And I thought, "Blesses the people within me....He will bless the baby within me."  And so on October 5, I had the first verse from God directly about my baby.  He would bless this baby within me, however that turned out, He would bless it.

Monday I went back for more blood work and then I waited.  Over the next days I repeated that verse to myself, holding on to God's promise to bless this baby no matter what.  On Wednesday the office called me back to tell me that even though my thyroid levels were low, it was safe for pregnancy.

I cried.  And I wanted to praise God.  So this is my praise.

I did not know what it would mean that He would bless this child within me, and I still don't fully know.  But what I know is that I have the first verse God has given me about our child and I hold onto the promise it contains.



Thursday, September 26, 2013

Dear Little Baby, I want to tell you about your Daddy

Tonight Matthew left for board meeting and I wanted to do something around the house to thank him for all he has done since I've been severely nauseated (almost five weeks now).  But of course I feel to sick to be of use almost anywhere in the house.  So I pulled out our baby journal and wrote this to our baby.  And I wanted to share it, because I have a selfless husband who is tirelessly working for me, for the school, and for the church -- and not complaining one bit.  I am blessed beyond words.



___

Hello little baby,

You are about 10 weeks old now.  One inch long.  I hope you are enjoying growing.  I have been very nauseated.  I tell you this because I want to tell you about the amazing Daddy that God has given you--and the amazing husband I have.

Ever since I have been nauseated your Daddy has done everything.  He cooks, cleans, pack lunches, always asks if he can do anything to help me feel better, takes care of the dogs, and cat.  And that is all on top of what he always has done to help me.  He mows our neighbors yard, take care of the cars, the yard, and helps around the house as he always has.  AND if that weren't enough he helps me at school.  He takes the students for recess, sorts my desk, handles stressful situations, and still does all of his own teacher and principal duties.  Your Daddy is selfless and serving.  He is also taking an online class toward his master's degree, is an elder at church, and takes time to rub my back at night when I know he must be exhausted.  And I have never heard him complain or ask me to do more.  He is a servant-lover after Jesus' heart.  I am eternally blessed to be his wife and beyond words thankful that he is your Daddy.

If you are a boy, I want you to be just like your Daddy.  If you are a girl I pray you will marry someone just like your Daddy.

We are incredibly blessed.

All my love,
Mama

Monday, September 9, 2013

Bump Ahead

Friday, August 9 at about 6:00 am I blinked my eyes as I watched the second pink line appear.  It was as if my heart raced and stopped beating all at the same time.  A babyOur baby.  There was a tiny life beginning inside of me.  Even now as I try to comprehend it I feel amazed and speechless.


We are thrilled beyond words and so glad that God has led us on this journey.  Last summer God began speaking to our hearts about expanding our family and He has blessed us to begin this way. 

It was the same day we paid off our house so I told Matthew that I wanted to take a picture with him, and instead had it on video so I could record his reaction. 

video


We can’t wait to meet our child at the end of April.  We thank God for the miracle that the baby already is to us. We ask for your prayers as we begin this new journey in our life!

“Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His Name together.” Psalm 34:3

“For Thou, O LORD, hast made me glad by what Thou hast done, I will sing for joy at the works of Thy hands.” Psalm 92:4
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…” Jeremiah 1:5 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Not Torn

Tonight Matthew read to me from John 21: 1-14. The account is below so you can read it.

As we discussed the passage Matthew said that he thought it was significant that it mentioned that the net was not torn.  I told him that maybe it showed that if Jesus sent the fish, he would supply the strength of the net.


And it dawned on me and made me smile.  It made me think of how I felt today.  Overwhelmed.  Can I really add another two desks in here? Can I really be a teacher without all the planning I usually do?  Is it possible to spiritually lead these students? Can I really add another desk in here?  As I answered Matthew’s thought about the net I felt the Spirit speaking to me.  If You spply the students, then You will give me the strength.  No matter how many or how few.  Even if I feel that I, the net, will break—you will give me the strength because You have sent these children to Your school.


That is so comforting.  He will give me His strength.  He will give me His peace.  Beautiful.  And perfect timing.  I am always amazed by God’s love and patience with me. 

He has supplied the bountiful blessings of students.  He will not let me be torn.

 
___

John 21
Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee.[a] It happened this way:Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus[b]), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.[c] When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Adventure

"When one is at home, he dreams of adventure; and when one is on an adventure, he dreams of home." -Thornton Wilder

I've decided to dust off this old keyboard and share some thoughts.

I'm in a Motel 6 adjacent to Yellowstone National Park. It's an adventure to be studying the volcanic center of this park - it's a caldron, not the typical cone-shaped volcano we all think of. But while it's an adventure, I miss home. I'm missing the people that make home home. Without those people this adventure is kind of lonely!

Being here without anyone I know is good for me. I'm being stretched to get to know new people, spend time with people I never typically associate with because of my career and home environment, and study things from a perspective I disagree with (this is causing me to closely analyze everything said in the academic setting). But being here without anyone I know is reminding me that life is made more valuable by the people we love.

I'm already starting to think of Joseph and how his story plays into this. He was taken from his family, and was made to live as a slave for many years. I believe his only comfort came from God during his darkest times in Egypt.

This time of adventure does not shine as brightly now as it did from the distant comfort of home, but nonetheless, God shines more.

So may you value the ones you love, and find home in God.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Morning by Morning

It is so easy.  This morning, to sit here outside and feel the peace.  Taste how easily I could forgive everyone and live with a lighter heart.  The spring air is fresh with a breeze that runs over the white dogwood blossoms.  And I am here writing in my journal, reading Isaiah.

I love Isaiah.  There are books in the Bible that I turn to easily.  Hungry to hear and feel God's love.  Isaiah is one of those.  It is as if God knew all the fears and worries my heart would have and put the answers of Love in that book.  

This morning I read from chapter 50 and read that morning by morning the Lord awakens His servant to instruct him.  Today I feel that I could be instructed.  The slowness of the morning.  There is no hurry-hurry-hurry I usually feel.  I close my eyes and feel the blessings of the day unfurling.  The ease of the day.

But I want this peace of this morning to be with me on all the days.  Because it is the hurry-hurry-hurry days that I need it the most.  The days I cannot find the kind words I know I should say or the forgiveness I know I should feel.

I want to be awakened by the Lord to be instructed morning by morning.  Every morning.  Not just the easy mornings.  My heart is hungry for that, and I know that I must change something, but what.


 Today this is easy to imagine--forgiveness given, peace every morning.

So I will recount blessings kept and recorded.  Trying to remember and hope for each morning by morning.

208-Wind & sun on my face at recess
224- Time to say good-bye.  Time for emails.
238- Tears for Caitlin
239- Arrow head from Dominic
243- Love
251- Luke 23:47 The soldier praised God by naming a gift
258- My relationship with Daddy
259- Friends to grieve with
280 - John 1:16 "From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another."
284- Twenty eight healthy students listing to Matthew talk about searching in God's word.
291- Insurance check for the roof
295- Joy
311- Bible verses painted on the walls
312- M&Ms in an alien bag.
316- Difficult people (appreciate the good ones)
321- Tears & comfort
330- Morning walk--my heart was stilled
339- Kindness from Tamorah
344- New playground
355- Perennial flowers
361- Kisses from Matthew

And I need to remember to slow down.  Breathe deep.  And count blessings. Because it does make the heart less heavy.  As if in naming the blessings the heavy parts of my heart begin to disappear.




Thursday, March 21, 2013

It's in the small things

God is in the details.  The small, almost hidden details.

And that is where I find His tenderness the most dear.

Today my heart grieved as I lost my friend Caitlin to a battle with cancer.  And it broke again because I knew I would have to tell my nine students that she died.  My sweet students who have been praying for Caitlin since day one.  The students who raise their hands in church and ask for prayer for Caitlin.  My students who I had to grieve with last April over the loss of their classmate, Marissa.  And I had to tell them that Caitlin was gone.

And as I sat during nap time, rubbing the back of a crying child I prayed and asked, What can I do?  What can I do to help them?  To help them see You in this.  To see the joy.

Then I thought of the Celebration Cake.  I follow a blog by author Katie Ganshert.  And she is having a Pinterest contest/war with another author Becky Wade.  Their contest this week was making a Celebration Cake.

We could make a celebration cake.  Today.  Now.  In the sadness.   To celebrate that Jesus died so that we could have eternal life.  To celebrate that Caitlin rests in Jesus. To celebrate that we will see her again at Christ's return.  To celebrate her life.  To celebrate Jesus.  To celebrate the joy in the sadness.

So we did.  Box cake.  Container of frosting.


  Sprinkles

















Popsicle sticks with pom-poms.
















We celebrated with tears and laughter.


















Here is what amazes me.  Here is God in the details.

The Celebration Cake contest was this week.  This week.
Matthew had to run home in the middle of the day (today) to meet an house insurance person, so he was able to grab the cake supplies for me.
I had cake supplies because of an event I am planning.
I have been trying to focus more on joy because of the Joy Dare and 1000 Gifts and in this when I was trying to focus on it I thought of the Celebration Cake.

Small, insignificant cluster of blogs, cake supplies, Bible study reading 1000 Gifts, and an insurance visit.  But I feel that they were designed by God, to bring comfort to my students and I in this sadness.

I know there will be more things.  More God moments.  I await to see His face in all things.  Because God is here.


1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.  For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Handouts?

You've seen them standing on the side of a road.  The cardboard sign.   "Out of work.  Need help.  God bless."  Or some variation.



And I always feel a tug.  When I was in high school I read a book by Melody Carlson about a girl, Chloe who wants to help the people she encounters asking for money or help without giving money.

See, it's always a question...what are the people going to do with the money?  I'm sure there are many arguments entangled with that question, but I think it's kind of a valid question.  But then it brings up another question.  What do you do then, when you are driving through somewhere and you see someone by a stoplight, asking for help?

In the book Chloe goes and buys McDonald's books that have the $1 gift certificate tear-outs.  So instead of handing out a couple dollars, she hands them a couple of $1 gift certificates and feels that she has given them help to get food, without giving cash.



Personally, I thought it was perfect.  So Matthew and I did that.  We bought some books and kept them in our cars to pass out.  And we did!  It seemed a perfect little solution...until McDonald's decided to stop selling those.  (I don't know if all of them have, but ours did.)

So for a while now we've had nothing in our cars. And we don't carry cash.  So there was nothing to give.

Then...there was Pinterest.

One day I was scanning along at ideas when I was stopped by this one.
How to Create a Homeless Care Package for Someone in Need ~ One pinner said, "what they always want the most (believe it or not) are clean white socks." Another said she keeps her 'care/blessing pkgs' in her trunk all year round. What a great parenting activity this is... :)))

And so a new idea has been born.  Today we bought the supplies. We didn't do it exactly like what was shown, but...it was a great start.  I loved the three basics.  Feed their needs, provide warmth, and feed their souls.














We now each have four gallon ziplock bags in our cars.  Something for physical needs (toothbrush, soap, snacks) and something for their spiritual needs (Steps to Christ.)  We didn't include winter stuff because winter is headed out of here, but when it gets that time we'll be picking some up to add.



I was laying out the supplies today and sorting them into bags and Matthew said, "Where did you get this idea again?"  I smiled, "Pinterest."  We laughed because he often asks me that when I'm trying something new and that is often the answer.  But here's to say that Pinterest has good things and I hope that in sharing this you are inspired to find your own way to help those in need.

Matthew 25

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’



Friday, February 22, 2013

Joy Dare

I am doing the Joy Dare this year.  I thought I would share some of the joys so far.

9- "If you need more rice, ask me."
12- The moose in the blue dawn.
13- Luke 11:1-4 Knowing Jesus wants me to ask.
15- Northern lights at -1 degrees.
19- Jason grocery shopping for me.
25- Willa
29- Getting to be part of the Wishing on Willows launch team.
32- Sabbath celebration candles
57- Standing upfront singing with my students.  I love my students so much.  It amazes me.
63- Reading Frankie's Orange with Caitlin.
70- My Bible
74- Real friendships, good friendship in Ckvl.
75- The love of Jesus from Tai Tai
78- Contra-dancing for two hours! So much fun!
88- My guest bathroom as a shelter from tornado.
92- Seeing Mama.
103- The hugs of my little students
113- Cheryle to help grade papers.
138- Handprint tree from Caitlin (Dominic's sister).
140- Hope in giving to Ganshert adoption.
148- Ckvl


Saturday, February 16, 2013

We shall be called...

In December Matthew and I went to an Andrew Peterson concert.  Before intermission he shared that he had recently been on tour with Steven Curtis Chapman.  During the Steven Curtis Chapman concerts they would play a video about Show Hope.  

Here is a similar video:


And as Andrew Peterson watched it night after night on tour he began to feel the need to do something.  To be a part of the adoption miracle.  So he went home (from being away on tour for weeks while his wife was at home alone with their three children), put down his bags, and said, "We need to adopt."  At the concert he laughed and said, "I'm not going to share what happened next."  His point was that, while he was moved about adoption, he and his family are not the ones called to adopt.  However.  And this is a HUGE however.  He believes that everyone is called to do something to help.  



James 1:27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

We may not be able to take an orphan or widow into our homes, but we can look after them. 


 “One of Show Hope’s biggest needs is sponsors and they need people willing to step up and give so that these children can find homes,” he shares“For me to get to work with Show Hope and to be a small part in building the kingdom in this way, to show these children the love of Jesus, is profoundly moving,” Peterson continues. “It’s a small price to pay for a blessing that big.”

I review books and in part of that I have come to know an author, Katie Ganshert.  Through her blog and facebook updates I have read about her and her family as they move toward adopting a beautiful child from the DR Congo in Africa.

They, like many families who adopt, fund-raise  apply for grants, and do what they can to raise the money so they can fund the adoption process.  Adoption isn't cheap, but that's where the rest of us come in.  We can help.

One of the Gansherts' fundraisers involves a 500 piece puzzle.  Each puzzle piece can be sponsored for $10 and your name, or whoever's name you want written, will be written on the back.  Here is what they Gansherts wrote:

"When the puzzle is all put together, we will frame it in a double-sided glass frame and hang it in our little one's bedroom.

And someday....someday.....when our child's old enough to understand, we'll take that frame off the wall and we'll snuggle up in a chair and we'll turn that picture around and we'll point at all the names. I'll read each one out loud and with this precious child wrapped in my arms, I'll whisper, "Look how much you were loved. Look at how much you were wanted. Look at all these people who helped bring you home."


Maybe you aren't called to adopt.  But you are called to help.  To show love to the orphans.

I encourage you to be a piece of the puzzle, a piece of the miracle of adoption.

You can go through Show Hope to help sponsor grants for families who are adopting, or you can find families to support individually.

But do something.  Be Christ's hands and feet.


ps. This is day one of the Ganshert puzzle



And this is day ten:


There are still 315 puzzle pieces to go.  Doesn't it thrill your soul to see those puzzle pieces?  To know that each one is someone saying, "I love you, I care for you little child even though I don't know you."

Matthew and I sponsored on the first day.  We knew it was something we had to be a part of.  I want that little child to know, when he or she sees our names that they were loved by strangers and prayed for by strangers--that are all a part of the body of Christ.

Won't you consider being a part of the miracle of adoption?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Focus

When I was fifteen I went on a summer trip with the summer-school workers.  During that time I was uncertain about how to handle a certain friendship.  I wasn't sure if I could trust them, or even should.  I was praying about it. On that trip we visited a little white church.  I picked up the Bible in the front pew pocket and flipped open to Psalm 146 and read verse 3, "Do not put your trust in princes, in moral men who cannot save."



Sitting in that pew, holding a Bible that was not my own, I felt a little shocked to have such a clear answer that I did not want to hear.  I wanted to hear that I could trust this person and that the future was clear.  When I got to my own Bible, I underlined that verse.

Recently I have been laying open my heart to God, asking Him why people can be so cruel--whether intentionally or not.  I prayed for peace.  I wrote in my prayer journal, "Jesus, I need Your peace.  I really, really do....Help me to focus on You, You, You.  Let me love You and listen with all that I am. I need to mediate more on You and Your Word.  More on You."  And then I sat there.  Feeling the anxiety and restlessness  rise up in my heart.

So I opened the Bible.  And I was given Psalm 146.

I am not to trust in princes, in people, who cannot save.
I am blessed if God is my help and my hope is in the Lord.
God alone is faithful forever.
He will provide for me, and set me free.  (Free, free.  Oh, God, could it be possible to be free of the heartache?)
Eyes to see, lifted up--loved by the Lord.
The defenseless provided for.  My weakness will be protected by His strength and love.
The wicked frustrated.
Focus my eyes on Him who reigns.



That was five days ago.

Yesterday I was reading Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow and God spoke again.

This time it was from Jeremiah 17:5-8

"Thus says the Lord, 'Cursed is the man who trust in mankind and makes flesh his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord.  For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant.'



'Blessed is the man who trust in the Lord, and who trust is in he Lord.  For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.'"



I have been more worried about what others say, think of me, say behind my back, etc. than trusting in God.  Where has my focus been?  My focus has been on if man is pleased with me then I feel satisfied and fulfilled. And because of that I have been a dry bush.

This morning He spoke again.

In Luke 12:4-7

"I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.  But I will show you whom you should fear; Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell.  Yes, I tell you, fear him.  Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?  Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your heard are all numbered.  Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."



I have been more worried about others than about how God feels about my actions, in-actions  etc.  I have been basing my emotions on people instead of God.  I am fearing the wrong thing.  God controls my destiny, not man.

And then the part that made my heart constrict with joy and painful longing, "Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."



God has not forgotten me.  No, instead He loves me so very much.  I need to focus my eyes on Him.  Human love may come and go, but His love remains.  I am not forgotten.  I am loved.

Part of this morning's journal entry: "Why/how is it on certain day, certain passages overwhelm me with Your love? Thank You."

From fifteen to twenty-six apparently I am learning the same lesson.  Where is my focus going to be?  On men or on God?  Do I want to be a dried up bush?  Or a tree planted by a water, that never fears?