Thursday, March 31, 2011

His Way

Here is another poem from Streams in the Desert that spoke to me:

His Way

God bade me go when I would stay
(Twas cool within the wood);
I did not know the reason why
I heard a boulder crashing by
across the path where I stood.

He bade me stay when I would go;
"Thy will be done," I said. 
They found one day at early dawn,
across the way where I would have gone,
a serpent with a mangled head.

No more I ask the reason why,
Although I may not see
the path ahead, His way I go;
For though I know not, He doth know;
And He will choose the safest path for me.
              ~From the Sunday School Times

I am trusting that God's time, God's way is best - even though that may not be what I see or understand right now!  He will choose the safest path for me!  Amen!

Monday, March 28, 2011

road blocks

Tonight I left our church on Hoosick Street in Troy and began the drive home-my 5 minute drive.  My house is three miles away.  We have walked the distance before.  Yet tonight it took me two hours to get home.  Why, you ask?  Stupid road blocks!!
In a town about half an hour from here a propane truck tipped over and is burning.  They are worried about explosions and so they have blocked off the road since noon today.  I forgot about it coming home from the church and when I got to the road block I was tempted to try to sneak around it since I could see my house.  But I decided there was no way possible with all the policemen there and blocks on the road, so I followed the detour signs.  I didn't realize that this detour was going to take me on an adventure that lasted two hours until it was too late to turn around because I was almost out of gas!  (I always wait til last minute because I hate pumping gas!)  To make a long story short, I ended up almost in another state, ran out of gas, prayed and the car miraculously started and continued for another 17 miles while I was turned away from one gas station after another because of these road blocks!  I would get within view (sometimes as close as it being right behind the road block) and be turned away because they wouldn't let me past those barriers! That happened a couple times, then I finally found a store I could get to - and they no longer sold gas.  as I was driving slowly away trying to think what to do next, I looked to my left and found a place that sold gas and I rolled in!  I filled my tank to the last drop - I had been running on fumes and stalling for the last 17 miles! I went into the store to borrow the phone and call my kids, because I left my cell phone with them, and when I came out the battery had died.  Really? 
A nice man and woman helped me get it going again, but he warned me my battery was loose and needed to be tightened, so not to drive far because it could come loose at any minute.  I was still half an hour from home and had no idea how to get there since I could not use the main road.  I put in alternate routes in my Lola (my beloved GPS) and she said, "This route has unpaved roads.  Do you want to avoid  unpaved roads?"  I didn't have much choice, so I drove the unpaved road, praying that my battery would not die in these dark, back wooded areas with no cell phone!  (At least I knew my gas tank was full!)  Finally I approached lights just to see that it was the main road that was blocked.  I almost burst into tears and thought of begging the guy blocking it when suddenly he moved and waved me through!  YESSSS!  But wait - am I going the right direction?  (I have NO sense of direction, so since it felt right, I was panicking!)  Then I saw that wonderful sign that pointed me to Troy!  After two hours, running out of gas, traveling to Hoosick Falls, almost heading into Vermont and Massachusetts, and having a battery die - I was heading home. 
I guess this is life.  And I can't forget that through it all God watched out for me.  I had no cell phone, and a kind stranger let me use her phone.  I ran literally 17 miles on completely empty (if you know our car, you know what a miracle this is!)  The battery, which could have come loose as I was frantically searching for a gas station on the back roads, or looking for an alternate route, only shifted loose when I was in a well lit, people-filled area.  And I made it though laughing. 
Road blocks and frustrations will occur in this life.  We will probably not understand them at the time - maybe never.  But I am learning to take all these occurrences in life and look at them as opportunities to praise Him.  This gave me plenty of those.  I have been asking God to help me in my faith, and as he lead me on fumes and put people in my path, I felt a peace and calmness that came from him.  It was a long night, and I am glad to be home, but I am also glad to be able to laugh and give praise.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Time flies when you're having fun!


When the kids were babies (and it felt like I had a lot of babies all together) people would say to me, "Cherish this time, it will go so quickly!"  HA!  I am NOT a baby person.  I like to hold them and ooh and ah, then give them back.  So that time never felt like it was flying by, I can tell you that!  It was more like a sleep deprived haze that I floated through for a few years!  But now...well, now is a different story.
I absolutely love, love, love the stage we are in as a family right now.  The kids are all old enough to dress, feed, and clean themselves; they can buckle themselves in the car; they love each other and enjoy playing together - entertainment is not usually an issue.  And yet they still like being with us.  We enjoy times as a family exploring new places, putting together legos, baking and cooking, watching movies that do not involve purple dinosaurs or colorful blobs that do not speak proper English, and doing all sorts of fun things.  We can also get up and go pretty quickly without diaper bags, playpens, and the assortment of things that we carted everywhere for several years.  Our children have learned to adapt to the spontaneous lifestyle Shawn and I like as we surprise them by telling them to grab a few toys and hop in the car because we are heading to Delta Lake for a few days, or whatever the adventure is at the moment.  And we are also all learning to enjoy each other and the simple things in those quiet, not-so-busy times. 
And I am realizing more and more that time really is flying by!  John is in 8th grade - we only have 4 more years of school with him!  When I started homeschooling him 9 years ago, I never thought we would both live to see the day that we would be looking at high school curriculum, yet here we are!  I was getting a little emotional about this passage of time, and once again my wonderful husband brought me back to reality and the idea of living and loving each moment and not fretting over the future. 
So today we will light 9 candles on Andrew's cake, eat the bacon cheeseburger and french fry dinner he requested, do school, play with new legos, and just take in time together as another opportunity to be thankful to God for this gift. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

unplugged

We have set up some new media rules in our house and this is the result of less time on the computer/internet/netflix/video game:

Building forts and hanging out together as a family!  (insert HUGE sigh of contentment here!) :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

new opportunities

I don't know if it was the amazing weather, the fact that school went really well today, getting the 50 cent ice-cream cones today at Stewart's for wearing green, or just the Holy Spirit working (probably a combo of all those things) but today was simply a good day. 
As I was talking with Shawn about things in our future (which are still blurry, at best) I got really excited.  I started thinking about what an opportunity all this is.  Honestly, I often look at these times of uncertainty as a punishment of sorts.  But today God opened my eyes and made it so clear all of the opportunities he is giving me right now!  Opportunities to grow with him; to go deeper in my walk with him; to build upon relationships already formed and look forward to relationships that are to come; to dream about the future, reminisce about the past, and live in the here and now.  And I can honestly say that I am excited about walking through this life one day at a time with Him. 
I was listening on the radio about St. Patrick and thought about what a testimony to this his life was. (Yes, I am Irish, but I didn't know much about this day!) He was kidnapped at 14, spent 6 years in slavery in Ireland, got to know God during that time, and followed His leading to be able to go back to England.  After he got home and was educated, one would think he would put it all behind him.  Instead he felt the call back to the place where he was enslaved to tell others about how to get real freedom!  He took what he was faced with and realized what an amazing opportunity it was!  (Exactly how did this day go from this remembrance to green beer and drunkeness?)
To new opportunities, friends!  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Perspective

My heart has been heavy this week for many people.  For nation of Japan and the people who have been so severely affected by yet another natural disaster, then a man made disaster on top of it!  The people of Sudan who are facing unrest and lack of peace in this post referendum time.  The missionaries I know whose hearts are there (in both places) yet they cannot physically be there for the ones they love.  Friends who are overseas and dealing with personal times of uncertainty.  Family members making decisions and learning to rely on God in ways that are not always fun and comfortable.  Others I love who are not following the Lord - especially in these times of so many disasters. 
It makes my whining about a lack of clarity for our future seem pitiful. 
God had done something in my spirit in the last couple of weeks.  Isaiah 26:3 has come to mind, "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you."  I have read stories of people in disasters past who have known Jesus and trusted even though the dark and scary times. 
So I am praying this right now for all of the above.  That the ones who know Jesus would be able to keep their thoughts fixed on Him and that they could pass that hope on to the multitudes of people around them who are hopeless right now.  That God would raise up those who know him to minister and love even in these times of uncertainty and darkness.  And that I would live in that peace and be a hope-giver myself. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Geekiness and rest

OK, so here is the truth - I am a geek!  I get so excited when I sign on to FB or this blog and see I have new "followers!"  I know that probably most people don't read this, but it is still fun to see the people who are interested in our family and especially those of you that I know pray for us!  Thanks for making this geek's day!
That being said, since there are people that read this, I feel pressured to keep it up to date a little better!  I realized that it has been a couple weeks since my last post!  The thing is, not much has changed since then.  The whole "wait"  thing is still happening, and the "rest" thing is still being said to me daily.  However, I actually feel like some of it is starting to sink in!
I read this quote from Madame Guyon the other day, and it was the beginning of a deeper understanding for me."Rest.  Rest.  Rest in God's love.  The only work you are required to do now is to give your most intense attention to his still, small voice within."
When we were in Malawi the first few months, I was lonelier than I have ever been in my life.  Yet I experienced God in ways that I never had before.  We had no friends, no transportation, didn't speak the language, did not understand the culture, were all alone as far as our mission went, had nothing of physical  comfort since the shipping container was not being sent, and I was bored out of my mind.  Yep, that's right...I dreamed of wild African adventures and exotic animals, and crazy miracles happening.  And those things did happen - we had plenty of those in the time we were there.  But those first two months I felt so alone and terrified and uncertain - and bored! (I remember once saying to Shawn, "No one told me Africa would be boring!  Dangerous, yes.  Wild, of course...but boring???")
Then a wise friend told me to use that time to call out to God in ways that I never had the ability and time to do before.  So I did.  And the Psalms became alive to me - as if written especially for me in that moment.  Scripture popped out at me with people's names, and I passed on words that were given to me.  I hungered and thirsted after it, and spent hours and hours on the veranda with tea, sunshine, a journal, my bible, and a cell phone (in case my mom texted me!)  And I waited.  And rested.  Yes, I got frustrated over shipping container woes, work permits, landlords that ripped off the white people, etc.  I was attacked physically as our bodies adjusted to foreign life and malaria settled in once.  But through all that I learned to wait-I really had no choice!  I could not manipulate the system or God.  I had no resources of my own.  I could only rest and wait for him to answer and make things clear as he saw fit.  And it was a sweet, amazing time in my walk with him.
This time as the same wise friend gently said "Wait on him in abandonment, and rest" I wanted to throw something.  It was one thing to do in Africa at that time (life did get much busier there and there were not often times of being bored) -but here?  I home school 4 kids, I am a pastor's wife.  We have a church plant.  I play in the worship band.  Life hasn't stopped for me as completely as it did in Malawi for that time. 
God is teaching me a new wait and rest in him.  This one does not need life to stop around me, but it is a deeper form of resting.  One that Brother Lawrence talked about when he said, "The time of busyness does not for me differ from the times of prayer and rest;  and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament."
In the noise and clatter of my household with four children who need to be taught, fed, loved on, and brought up; in the craziness of a church plant filled with energetic students and people needing to be given God's word; in the snowy weather with grumpiness in my heart; in the uncertainty of our future with people all around us talking and giving advice and opinions...in these times are the times I am learning to rest and wait. 
I do not have it down...in fact, I do not even understand much of it!  But I am excited to be a part of this learning process, no matter how painful it can be at times.  I remember the sweetness and closeness that came out of the last time I surrendered like this - and I long to experience that even deeper and more real. 
So now I rest.
Resting!