Posted in Crossing Cultures, God's heart, honesty, Hope, Mozambique, my heart

But He Can

I can’t possibly put into words how things have changed since we’ve come here. Our roles right now are not what they will be come Maxixe, but we are here in Q… studying… still in transition and yet settled…. for a while at least.

I can’t possibly put into words what it’s like to send the very children you feel convicted to homeschool to a public school for a year. And a school in a different language and culture. I can’t put into words how I miss them in the house and how I miss knowing what they are learning. How I wish I could help Rachael on her homework, but it is beyond my Portuguese understanding.

I can’t possibly put into words the sacrifice of sitting upstairs for 5 hours of language and hearing your toddler downstairs calling you. It’s just a petty thing. She wants you to read her a book. But you can’t. I can’t describe what it is like to live on the fence, both dying to understand more in a language that still feels very unnatural and just wanting to hold your baby and absorb the little moments that used to surround you.

I can’t possibly put into words the feeling when you watch them building poor habits that you know you will need to spend months undoing. But their habits are acceptable in your host culture, just not in yours. So they’re not corrected. Some milestone regression will just need to be regression until you are there more consistently. Until things take on a new normal.

I can’t possibly put into words the frustration of returning to “school” and wondering if you’ll ever just “live normally”again. You know, just like go to the market and get food. Just do normal life stuff without feeling like it’s a language and culture test. Live in a place without fear of public speaking, when really there’s only just a handful of people in front of you, but the language barrier feels like a mountain before you.

I can’t possibly put into words the internal battle of studying so hard, but feeling like it’s never good enough and fighting that constant battle of comparison with your spouse who “just gets it”. Oh how the temptations can flair in the dark of the night and seem to swallow you whole.

But, precious friends and family, I can’t possibly put into words seeing another month under your belt, one step closer to your job city. I can’t possibly put into words how much of a blessing it is for your front tires to touch the pavement of the highway leading to your destination city. I can’t possibly explain the delight in seeing your children flourish, even if they’re not always running to your arms. I can’t explain the joy in hearing Portuguese church songs sung in echoing abandonment from a four-year old as she plays. I can’t put into words the delight of a small group of believers living in a Muslim community remembering and repeating with smiles on their faces the parables you all studied weeks ago. I can’t explain the triumph you feel when leaving the market after navigating the local market playing a little game of trying to beat your sweet house helper to the punch of asking about produce.

I can’t begin to express the gratitude of overcome tears and deep-heart prayers resulting in fruitful steps forward.

And it leads me to my knees again, praying for His perspective when mine feels challenged again. His patience when this road feels too long and costly. His calm when the uncertainties seem to surround.

Oh how the cost is high, how I long to return to being a homeschooling, ministry wife. But oh, dear beloved, how He proves Himself over and over to be MORE than enough.

Oh, precious friends and family, He IS so much more than enough.

Thanks be to God for using me as a tool in His hand in the midst of this 3 year transition from an American Associate Pastor’s wife to a bi-lingual Missionary Mom living in Africa.

His ways are prefect.

His timing is perfect.

How He refreshes my soul.

Posted in faith, God's heart, Hope, JOY, Mozambique, my heart

Immeasurably More

We sat at the table the other night and the girls brought up the topic of Heaven. It stemmed out of a conversation about the meaning of the word “paradise”. And after cleaning up some six year old confusion about Paris vs. Paradise, one of the girls mentioned Christ’s words to the broken sinner on the cross. “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.” He said in response to the man’s belief.

Paradise.

“What will Heaven be like?” the questions arose with great curiosity.

“No one really knows beyond the Bible’s description of it being immeasurably more than anything good we could imagine.”

“No more tears,” Hannah piped in.

“Lots of food!” Came Abi’s response through her mouthful.

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks.

“Can you imagine what it will be like for some people here?”

Rachael caught my eyes.

“They will go from a life of disease, surrounded by death, no electricity, no running water, fighting for hope amongst abandonment and challenge and desperation STRAIGHT to the banquet feast of our Lord.”

A tingle went through my body.

I saw the light on Rachael’s face as we both had very real pictures flash through our minds.

Suddenly, I thought about the homeless man out on the main street a half-block over. He never makes eye contact, is always surrounded by cardboard and trying to make fire. His loins barely covered by a shredded rag. I don’t know how long he’s lived there. I don’t even know how he’s still alive.

I thought about the sea of chronic medical problems people live with here, from huge goiters to elephant legs and open sores. I thought about the tiny, emaciated bodies that fill the public schools and the swollen preschool bellies and pencil-thin arms. I thought about the reading group girls who come in a capulana (thin, colorful yard of fabric) tied over a naked body underneath. This is all they own. That very well may be all they’ll ever own.

Can you even imagine, church?! Can you even imagine their faces when they’re given new robes? When those emaciated hands reach out in a new flesh for the banquet meal? Can you even imagine when the homeless man receives his house? Can you even imagine when the chronic ill step foot into Heaven and feel for the first time a land where those is no more death, no more disease and no more tears?!

Oh church, can you even imagine?!!!!!

Brother’s, my hearts desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved…  For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? 

Romans 10:1, 13-15

May this truth permeate our very souls and open our eyes to His work laid before us. Oh the immeasurable value in all mankind that He would stoop down from the High places and rescue us into His arms.

Oh church, can you even imagine……

Posted in everyday schooling, faith, God's heart, Hope

Vocal Depth

I was listening to an audio reading of Genesis while I was folding clothes this morning. The children were playing together while the littlest napped, permitting me full attention to give to the listening amid the monotony of laundry.

And it hit my ears.

“Who told you that you were naked?” The narrator read with a tinge of desperation in his voice.

And through those words God reminded my heart of his desperation for mankind.

Sermons can and have been written on God’s compassion, willing Adam and Eve to confess their forbidden fruit sin. The Omniscient God did not need them to verbalize their sin. He already knew the question’s answer. But He gave them the opportunity to feel the relief of confession. The relief of releasing some of the guilt. Not adding salt to the wound by telling the truth.

But in that voice lies a deeper level. A deeper heartbreak chosen to be shouldered by the Ever-Loving Father. The disaster of the fall’s consequences had begun. And even though I wasn’t there, I think this audio Bible’s narrator got the tone just perfect. His desperation. His heartbreak for the newly lost mankind looking back at Him through the eyes of Adam and Eve. Never again to frolic in the garden together. Never again to share in closeness as before.

No, God doesn’t need us, dear friends. But here in His voice in This Genesis verse His heart pours out. He wants us.

Thank you, Lord, for still wanting us… even in the heat of our rebellion. 

“Blessed” somehow fails to describe the depth of Your gift of adoption.

– Please, Lord, keep teaching my heart to listen to Your Voice.

Posted in communicating trust, everyday schooling, faith, God's heart, Hope, JOY, life thoughts, missions focus, my heart, thankful and grateful

The Rock We Stand On

I had the opportunity to go with my husband to chaperone youth winter camp this year. This really was a treat since with so many little ones in our home currently (and in the past) I am usually the default in running the routine (that I have been privileged to invent). But this time since our crew was old enough, I got to spend the time with the youth girls.

While at camp we heard this worship song from the camp band.

“Your Kingdom Reigns” by Meredith Andrews

And I must tell you, I just love the Truth in this song.

My favorite is verse 2:

“By Your blood You have paid every debt

You are strong to save us

And by Your Word you will light every step

You are ever faithful!

Jesus, You are every faithful!”

Let’s take a moment to think through that. EVERY debt paid. That’s some serious strength! And while He never had to save us and it still utterly floors me that Christ would choose to save me… ME … without first even having a single utterance of commitment. See, He saved everyone that we would even have a chance to choose to receive His gift. And let me tell you what… I don’t think we can look at the depth of that grace in His gift and not be compelled to run to Him.

He could have just given us our consequence. The one we rightfully deserved.

Rachael and I had a conversation yesterday in the car. She was asking me to explain a familiar Scripture memory song playing from our CD. She’d heard it a bunch of times, even reciting the words along with it, that she finally began applying her mind to it. (What a life truth right there in itself – no wonder I need to repeat Scripture until it becomes more natural in my life!). We got to the topic of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross being a gift. “Let’s think about it this way… when Hannah does something wrong she receives a bad consequence, right? Like for example if she’s a bit older and hits another kid in the nursery. She gets a bad consequence. They may hit her back, she may have to go to time out, she may have lost a friend because they don’t want to be around her anymore… or if she was just told not to hit and she did it in defiance, maybe she gets a spanking after having a conversation about her disobedience.”

“So what if every time Hannah did something wrong instead of spanking her, we spanked you? Hannah hits someone, so you get a spanking. Hannah hits someone again, so you get the spanking again. Think that’s fair?”

“No!!!” Resounded from the back seat with a slight nervous giggle.

“Well Jesus said, ‘I’ll take the spanking!’ He decided to take the bad consequence. She deserved her own punishment. She made the bad choices. But Jesus took the spanking. He chose to. No one told Him to. No one made Him. He volunteered, or chose willingly to be spanked so Hannah wouldn’t have to be spanked. See, someone had to be spanked. The bad was done. The sin was done. The Bible says that the punishment for sin is death. Jesus took the death for us. But it wasn’t just that… Jesus took the death BEFORE Hannah ever even decided she wanted to be like Jesus. He chose the death to allow Hannah to have a choice to live like Jesus or to choose not to.”

“Wow.” There was silence as she pondered.

 Wow, my heart agreed.

Our conversation ended there because we got to our destination and things moved forward. And while I’m sure I butchered explaining the depth of grace in so many ways, I just prayed…. again… for her acceptance of that grace. And I just prayed again for Him to continue to open my eyes to that very same grace.

I mean could you even imagine if we saw that Grace clearly? If we, Christians, took on a lifestyle of boldness from that Grace?

We’ve been praying for laborers to be sent to the Harvest, starting with our own household. We’ve been praying for reaping of the seeds planted by so many missionaries. We’ve been praying to be a part of the Kingdom work. To be open. To be alert. To see the work so we can run to the Harvest. It has changed our prayer life. I feel it changing my heart. Conforming my mind to the Lord. Less of me, more of Christ. That even one more would be added to His number…. that even one more would receive Grace…

Oh how His heart in me has reminded me in this song of the unbriddled power of God falling on His lost people if we would just go with such CONFIDENCE and ASSURANCE in the Truth of the Light. He WILL light our EVERY step. He does not send us alone. He does not send us empty-handed. He went behind us with the cross and goes before us with His Word to light our steps, to guide us.  He will NEVER fail us. He will NEVER forsake us! He will NOT be shaken!  If we would just take up His Word as our flashlight, guiding our steps to the lost, the lonely, the desolate and stand on HIM, not us… HIM, the Rock we stand on!

Take Him at His Word, church. Take Him at His Word, Christian. And non-Christian, see… oh please see how He is beyond Worthy to be taken at His Word.

His Kingdom Reigns. Not a corrupt kingdom. Not a corrupt, selfish king.

THE King who extended such incredible Grace. Such immeasurable Love like we have never seen before. Like we can’t even fully fathom…

HE is Life!

Let’s run and proclaim it to the darkness!