Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mi Tortilla es Su Tortilla

Today my daughter wanted a snack, and for some reason, a tortilla was going to hit her hunger spot. So I sent her off with a simple, cold tortilla, and what happened next was just sweet.

"Look Haddon. Here," Norah said as she handed the tortilla to her brother after taking a bite for herself.

Haddon bites. Norah bites. Haddon bites... and on it goes until the tortilla is consumed.

How nice it was to see big sister share with her little brother, and for little brother to not panic if something was taking away for big sister to have a turn.

Nibble by nibble, bite by bite, my children lived out sharing. It made me smile.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fevers and Chills

Yesterday when we were walking out of church, I was telling my husband that I felt very achy, like when one is getting sick. What proceeded was a fever with a bad case of the chills. This lasted the whole night, and left me without much sleep.

So last night, my sweet husband put our children to bed, and while I was in bed shivering, he did the dishes that had piled up.

This morning, I got up for a bit, but just didn't feel well enough to stay up- so back to bed for me! And my husband continued to care for the kids, making them lunch, and providing what they needed, all the while working on an assignment that he has due for school.

When I got up in the early afternoon, feeling a little better, I came out into the living room, and my little boy came charging up to me. With a big smile on his face, he gave me a big hug, and laid his head on my shoulder. He missed his mom.

Today I am thankful that I have a husband who takes care of me and our children, and is diligent in his pursuit of finding a job. He has hit the ground running since being relieved of his pastoral ministry, and I am grateful that he feels the weight of being a provider. I know that the Lord will bless his efforts in His timing.

I am also grateful that I have a little boy who missed me, and although he cannot speak, he showed me the best way that he could that his mom was missed. His hug meant a lot to me.

And of course I'm also grateful that the shaking, feverish, chills are gone, and now I can work feverishly on getting things done that I need to!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sources of Encouragement

Recently our family has been blessed with a change of circumstances. And in light of that change, we are filled with hope to see how the Lord will provide. In a similar circumstance we were able to see how God perfectly provided. But in the midst of searching for a new job, deciding when to put our home up for sale, and praying for guidance for for quick resolution to questions and problems that arise after being let go from a position, there is a lot of sadness.

We're sad that things did not work out in Colorado. We're sad to leave students and other people that we've poured our hearts into. And sometimes we wonder if the manner in which the relationship between ourselves and the church ended, would diminish the work God has blessed us to do.

But then both my husband and I were encouraged in many different ways.

First, the last thing that my husband cleared out of his office were some random books that were in the top of a closet. Under one of those books was a pile of pictures. He said that he thinks that the pictures were just put there when he moved into the office two years ago. He hadn't seen them or thought of them since. In that little pile of pictures were memories of a River Cats game that we took youth to when we ministered in Woodland, California. Another picture showed my husband with two of the boys from Woodland at a winter camp that my husband was the speaker for. And he was reminded of what a flourishing and beautiful ministry we were blessed with there, and that God used us there.

Yesterday I also had written to one of those girls that we were able to minister to in Woodland. I let her know what had happened, and she responded by telling me that she was really sad for what had recently happened. She expressed her hope that our experience here in Colorado wouldn't deter us from continuing in the ministry.

God graced my husband and I both yesterday by reminding us of our calling to minister to the church (my husband as a pastor and me as his supporter and partner). At a time when we could easily become discouraged and even tempted to give up on that calling, the Lord used his people to remind us that we are loved and that we are equipped with the grace of God to serve the church.

One of the main difficulties my husband has faced, and what has lead to our ultimate departure was a difference in opinion over how to grow a youth ministry. Activities was the answer of church leadership. Faithful preaching and teaching of God's word was my husband's. We didn't see the numbers grow, and so it was perceived that my husband was not doing his job.

Looking at the pictures from Woodland, and reading a note from a student from that ministry, along with keeping in touch with those students who have moved on out of high school and into college, has been incredibly encouraging to us. The proof is in the pudding, so they say, and those that came out of our ministry in Woodland are discerning, not being swept away or caught up in the latest trends of the post-modern church. They hold a high priority on the Word and hold that as truth over all else, and they are living lives that are shining lights for the gospel wherever they go.

Their faithful lives are a gift of grace on us as we look to what God would have us do next. I am so grateful for God's faithfulness in using broken vessels like myself and my husband to bring Him glory.

Beyond the encouragement from our past in Woodland, my husband got a call from a friend that he had not spoken to in a long time. That friend prayed for Casey over the phone. I have received messages from current members of the church we just left, as well as old friends that I have known for years. Even as the news of our departure is being spread in town, we are getting calls from parents or youth workers that we were close to, expressing their sadness and offering well wishes.

God is good to use his people in that way.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Maker of the Hills

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The LORD will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
Psalm 121
The opening verses of this psalm came to mind the other day as I was walking to get the mail. Living in Colorado, on the western slope, we are surrounded by hills and mountains. To the north of us we can see the Bookcliffs, with Mt. Garfield on the end. To the east we can see the Grand Mesa, which is so tall that it eclipses the mighty Rockies on the other side. And to the west we see the burnt orange rock of the Redlands with the Colorado National Monument. When I looked up at these hills and mountains I couldn't help but think about where my help comes from. The Maker of the mountains, the Painter of the rocks and the Sculptor of the hills is my stronghold.
What a beautiful reminder that the mighty mountains have their strength from my mighty God. When the ground I stand on seems to shift and I feel as though I am in sinking sand, I know that there is a Solid Rock on which I can stand.
What a privilege it is to know that when I need help, it comes not from my own wisdom or on the other side of worrying or fretting. It comes from the LORD- Yahweh- Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let me slip or fall. He will uphold me with His righteous right hand.