Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Curve Ball

I've seen close friends and even family endure some major trials. And I thank the Lord for each one as it draws us to Him in dependence. It's easy to look back on trials, see how God worked, and then learn to give thanks. But I don't want to be thankful after the fact, I want to rejoice in the midst of whatever the Lord brings my way.

I'm scared. In the last couple of weeks, the cancer in my mom's back has done damage to her nerve and she is in a lot of pain. She's doing acupuncture, which has helped, but I still worry about her health, and wonder how much longer I will have with her. Often, I can't understand why God chooses to work the way He does and I want to ask, WHY? But then, praise God, my mind takes over and the truth of what I know comes flooding in. The question is not why. When Job was in the midst of his trials, God never told him why. God simply reminded Job of his place in comparison to God by recalling God's wondrous character and power to create and sustain. And Job fell on his face and cried out for mercy.

I won't ask why. Instead, I will choose to bless His name for His holy, gracious, kind, loving, merciful, wise character. And I will trust that infinite wisdom in my life and in my family, and in the lives of my friends.

Job 38:1
"Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, 'who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me! Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid it's cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who enclosed the sea with doors when, bursting forth, it went out from the womb; when I made a cloud its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and I placed boundaries on it and set a bolt and doors, and I said, 'Thus far you shall come, but no farther; and here shall your proud waves stop'?

(It goes on...you should read the rest, it's so encouraging.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Something in the Water

Many of my friends, coworkers, and acquaintances are expecting! And I am overwhelmed to watch God at work in each specific instance.
One friend and past co-worker, Stephanie Wahler Sanderson, had her baby girl Suzie, about 2 months early. Bleeding in Suzie's brain has caused some possible damage and Suzie is currently in the hospital with both Steph (mom) and Kyle (dad) by her side. I am praying fervently for all three of them.

My dear friend and coworker, Lola, has had a difficult pregnancy and was put on bed rest early on. Lola is due in late August, but it appears little Emma is eager to meet the world and will most likely arrive before her due date.

Another close friend and coworker, Chela, also recently found out that she is expecting. Her due date is March 18, 2009. I can't wait to find out whether she is having a girl or boy! It's been fun to see her each day at work praising God through the fun side-effects of being pregnant.

The list could go on. There are several more expecting couples with their own unique stories. But the point is, through it all, the easy, fun and exciting times and through the difficult, scary, and nightmarish times, my friends have all shown a deep faith in their Savior, Jesus Christ, and a rich understanding of the doctrine of God's sovereignty. I am so thankful for each one of them and rejoice and mourn with them as is fitting. I am learning the deep comfort that comes from understanding God's sovereignty in my own life and I rest my future and that of my friends and their little ones in the hands of my good and gracious God.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

God's Message to Me Today

The Full Ocean of Never-Failing Delight and Satisfaction
John Fawcett, "Christ Precious"

"Yes, He is very precious to you who believe!" 1 Peter 2:7

"O blessed Jesus, Your love is wonderful! It is the admiration, joy and song of glorified saints. The experimental sense of Your love on earth--sweetens the bitterness of life, and disarms death of all its terrors! It was love which moved You to bow the heavens, to come down and sojourn on earth, to humble Yourself, to take on you the form of a servant, and become obedient onto death, even the death of the cross! You pitied me in my lost estate. You sought and found me--when I sought You not. You spoke peace to me in the day of my distress, when the clouds of guilt and darkness hung heavy on my soul--and I was brought to the borders of despair. You have--borne with all my weakness, corrected my mistakes, restored me from my wanderings, and healed my backslidings. May Your loving-kindness be ever before my eyes--to induce me to walk in your truth. May Your love be the daily theme of my meditations, and the constant joy of my heart! When I am favored with the light of Your countenance, and the comfortable sense of Your love--my soul is filled and satisfied. All the glittering glories of this world, are then darkened, and turned into deformity! They are but broken cisterns--but you are the fountain of living waters! The streams of creature enjoyments, are shallow and deceitful as a brook--but You are the full ocean of never-failing delight and satisfaction! To Your love I must ascribe my whole salvation; and through all the ages of a blissful eternity--I shall proclaim the wonders of redeeming love, and tell to listening angels what Your love has done for my soul. Unto You who loved us, and washed us from our sins in Your own blood, and made us kings and priests to God--to You be glory and dominion forever and ever! Amen."

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Encouragement When I Need It Most

Valley of Vision
-A Puritan Prayer
“Thou hast done for me all things well, hast remembered, distinguished, indulged me. All my desires have not been gratified, but Thy love denied them to me when fulfillment of my wishes would have proved my ruin or injury. My trials have been fewer than my sins, and when I have kissed the rod, it has fallen from Thy hands. Thou hast often wiped away my tears, restored peace to my mourning heart, chastened me for my profit. All Thy work for me is perfect, and I praise Thee.”

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Israel, Rapid-Fire Recap

The Missionary Conference went extremely well. I worked with 2 other teammates in the 3 to 5-year-old class. We each taught 2 lessons. I taught about Jesus calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee and I did my best to explain the difference between true repentance and Judas sorrow as we studied the story of Peter denying Christ.

As you can imagine, 8-hour days can be hard for the little ones. But they did extremely well. We went swimming and to the park, played with toys, had singing time, reading time, snack time, teaching time, craft time, and video time.
My personal favorite part of the day was nap time J. Some of the fun crafts were boats, finger puppets, bookmarks, thumbprint animals, and an “I Love Israel” banner with their little handprints on it!

I got to know a couple of our dear missionaries a little better, which was a blessing. And it was an encouragement to hear parents say their kids were talking about what they learned during lesson time!

When the conference was over, most of the team stayed for a 2-day, rapid-fire tour of Jerusalem and the surrounding area. It was an amazing adventure. We saw the Mt. of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Jerusalem replica, the Western Wall, the Rock of the Dome, the Holocaust Museum, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, the Pool of Siloam, The Spring of En Gedi, Qumran, Masada, the Dead Sea and I’m sure I’m forgetting more.

The biggest lesson I learned was how REAL our God is. Seeing the land of Israel is like having a firsthand encounter with our Lord’s humility and His faithfulness. Only God would chose such a place as the center of His earthly ministry. Only God would chose such a humble people as His chosen nation. Only God! No human could conjure it up and no man would dream it. I stand in awe of our great God!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I'm home! Sorry I wasn't able to update more. Thank you all of those who prayed for me and kept up with my blog! I got really sick and my last couple of days in Israel were difficult, but still great. I was still able to hang in there. But the last night I got a bad headache, so bad I got dizzy and fell down when I tried to get up and I was having delusions while I was sleeping. I also got a really bad bloody nose. I also threw-up on the plane. Ha! Ha! Sorry for all the terrible details. Anyways...God is so good and I am so glad to be home. I will make a long post with pictures and fill you all in on my trip. I wish everyone could have been there with me...it is such a dramatic experience. Our God is is an awesome God...King of Kings and Lord of Lords! I'd love to write more...but I'm getting dizzy, sitting here, so I should go lay down. Love to you all.