Family

Family

Friday, October 23, 2020

The Christian "F" Word

 "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." James 5:16

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17


I heard a statement last night at Celebrate Recover (CR) that really stuck with me and it convicted me. It went something like this, "Have you heard the Christian 'F' word? 'I'm FINE'." We all laughed at the moment, but as I have thought more about it, this statement has made me sad. How often do we as believers tell people we are "fine", when really we are not and our worlds are falling apart? How can we pray for each other and help sharpen one another if we do not know what is going on in each other's lives? And how many of us have been guilty of getting that panicked look when you ask someone how they are doing and they tell you something besides, "I'm fine?" I am sure that we have all been in both sets of circumstances.

I think this concept of "I'm fine" reaches beyond our conversations. When we post pictures of our lives on social media, subconsciously or not, do we try to make it look like we have it all together, that we are fine? I know I have been guilty of this. Wayne asked me why I haven't blogged lately and I told him because life has been hard and what am I supposed to blog about? He asked me, "Why can't you blog about life being hard? Do your blogs always have to be filled with the good life?" I thought about it and I know that in the past I have blogged about hard things. I mean come on, having a husband with terminal brain cancer is HARD! Raising eight kids is HARD. Adoption is HARD. But I have discovered the last year that there is one HARD that has been very difficult to navigate. You know the kind you don't want to talk about with other people and you just want to say, "I'm fine!"? This HARD is the straw that "broke the camel's back", my back. As people at CR say, this was "my bottom". I knew that I couldn't keep trying to do this on my own. I needed a band of fellow believers to help walk along side me and keep me going. People that could pray for me and encourage me on the super hard days. 

Dealing with a loved one with mental health issues is HARD. You do not know what to expect from day to day. You visit numerous doctors and try different drugs to try to help the person live out as much of a normal life as possible. I have discovered through CR that one of my character defects is co-dependency and control. I have discovered that somehow I feel like I can somewhat control the situation when someone has a physical handicap or illness (I know technically I have no control, but in my mind I feel like it is somewhat controllable). When it comes to mental health, there is no control at all. I feel like my life has been spinning out of control the past year. I had to reach the bottom and realize that I have no control over anything. Part of The Serenity Prayer says, "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will..."

Each day is a new day. Some days I feel like with God's help it was a victorious day. Other days, I feel defeated and overwhelmed. On those days, I reach out to my "people". We all need "people" in our lives who we can be 100% transparent with and who can hold us accountable. I don't want to be "fine", I want to be transparent, real, and transformed into who God wants me to be. "Fine" is not who God wants me to be. God wants me to be real...with Him and with others. What about you? Are you just "fine" today or are you hurting and need someone to talk to? God never promised us lives filled with unicorns and rainbows. He told us life would be hard and we would have trials and temptations. We cannot do this race on our own. We need the help of the Holy Spirit and other believers who can help us when we feel like we can't take one step further in the race called life.

Prayer Requests:

1. Wayne's MRI results (MRI today).

2. Shan Chen’s new prosthetic leg that he picks up today.

3. Our trip to Nebraska to see Emily, the young girl who is struggling with brain cancer.

4. For my friend Amy and her husband Brian, who has GBM.

5. The Landing (teenage level CR) that started Monday night. Pray that young kids attend and that God uses it to change their lives.


Friday, October 16, 2020

Ethnos360

 1 Chronicles 16:24 "Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples!"

Romans 10:13-14 "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?"

I love Proverbs 16:9, "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." Our family had been planning a camping trip to Gulf Shores since January. Unfortunately, Hurricane Sally had other plans and wrecked havoc on our campground and our plans were changed. At the last minute, we reached out to missionary friends in Florida and asked if they could use any help. So at the last minute we changed our plans for Fall Break. Our family had the privilege of getting to serve for a week at The Homes of Ethnos360. This amazing ministry ministers to missionaries who have retired from the mission field. I love heart of Ethnos360 (used to be known as New Tribes)! They are pouring out love and assistance to those who faithfully served God. The grounds are just beautiful! We met numerous missionaries who had served the Lord for many years. Unfortunately, due to COVID, we were limited on how much personal interaction we could have with residents. In the future, I would love to go back and just sit down and hear stories from these faithful servants of God! 



Our typical day consisted of getting up and eating breakfast and praying, followed by a day of work. We would eat dinner and then head to the beach or go hang out with friends who just moved there from California. Although the work was hard, it felt so good to participate in God's work. I am so thankful that we were able to make this trip to Florida. Some of the jobs we did were: tearing apart old furniture and putting it in different containers (wood, metal, and materials), spreading mulch, organizing steel materials, and repurposing a 20 foot long 10" diameter pipe to be used on bridges around the property. We also learned how to properly use a fire extinguisher since they were expired and needed to be disposed of.

















We got super dirty sanding and taking the tar off the huge pipe!



Enjoying time at the beach. Our first time at the beach it was raining and the sand was blowing, but we made the most of our time and were able to score some beautiful shells (see picture further below).





















Our friend, Mike Hartman, gave us a tour of Ethnos360. Their building was just gorgeous inside and we all enjoyed seeing sample Bibles that have been translated into different languages around the world. God's Word is powerful, so we know that when others can read it in their own language, God uses it to transform lives.





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We are currently reading about Nate Saint and Cameron Townsend for our read alouds in school. Even though they worked for different mission organizations, the goal of all of them is for God's Word to be translated into every language. If you've never read a missionary story, I highly recommend it! Our favorite ones are "Christian Heroes Then and Now"







New Tribes first office was in Chicago!