Thursday, December 19, 2013

To Walk Worthy

 Abigail with Gala

Thank you all so much for your sweet, encouraging emails.  Each of them were such a blessing to me.  I have tried to reply to each of you.  If you have not received an email back, it is because I sent it, but my email said it did not send a couple.  I will retry again once I get a chance. 

Things around here have been busy as usual, with people coming in and out constantly.  This is something I've had to get use to as I greatly enjoy "my" privacy and "my" quiet time. 

For those of you who don't know, our dining room/living room is also our bedroom.  So even through the night, kids are coming through to go to the bathroom, and this past week, others were to.  But there is one time of the day when it is quiet (at least in the winter when it is dark) and that is early in the morning between 5- sometimes 7.  That is when Eric and I get up, light a candle on the table and read our Bibles.  Sitting next to each other in sweet quietness, sharing what God is showing us.  During the week that Slavic, Olea and Vasily were here, it was sometimes a little interrupted, but for the most part, we still had our quiet time...except for one morning...

Abigail has been pretty restless at nights, so one particular morning I propped up some pillows and stayed by her while starting my devotions.  In comes Vasily, pulls up a stool and sits at the table in MY SPOT!!!  "I'm not disturbing anything am I?" he asks Eric.  The first thought that comes into my head is, "Oh, no.  You're not disturbing anyone.  This is just the ONLY time Eric and I have together, but no.  You're not disturbing anyone."  Afterwards, I almost starting laughing about it.

So, God has been teaching me patience and love this past year.  It is quite funny.  I thought I had it down.  I've even been complimented multiple times on how patient I am.  So, even if I was failing in every other area, I was good in the patient area. hehe...Pride goeth before a fall.  Thankfully, God hasn't just been giving me testing, but has also been encouraging me and convicting through Scriptures almost daily about it.  I thought I would share one of my devotion journal entries from this past week. 

12/14    Ephesians 4

4:1  "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,"

~ To walk worthy of our calling...
        We are not worthy of the privilege to be missionaries, yet the Lord has allowed us to be here.  It is not the lowest calling someone could have on their lives, but it is a privilege.

4:2 "With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love."

~ We aren't supposed to puff ourselves up and say, "Look what I am."  No. We are to serve realizing just how unworthy we are of this position.  It is not because we are super Christians that we have been called to the field.  God says He likes to use the weak things so that He can be seen and glorified rather than for us to be seen and glorified.

~ He also says we are to forbear one another in love.
         Sometimes on the mission field, we will just have to forbear in love because, for the most part, we are surrounded by baby Christians who will do things wrong.  It would be very easy and natural to get angry and say, "You don't want to do right?  Well, forget you!"
        No.  We must forbear in love, tenderly and gently guiding them into the right path.

4:3 "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

~ Endeavor is a good word here as sometimes it is an endeavor to keep people in the Spirit in peace with each other.  It is an endeavor just to keep ourselves in the Spirit and at peace with other Christians!  We all have the fleshly tendency to gossip and get irritated with each other.
       I believe some people are better at this than others...Eric is so good at it and I can learn a lot from him.  Thank you Lord for giving me a peacemaking husband and pastor for our little, sometimes contentious, church here.  YOU knew what we needed.

4:7 "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ."

~He has given each of us a gift.  Some of us He has called to be missionaries, some teachers, etc.  Each of us that are saved have been called Christians and we ought to walk worthy of that calling - to be Christ-like.
         He says He has called us to be Christ-like and He will give us the grace to do it.

Why has He given us our different gifts or callings?

4:12 "For the perfecting of the saints, 
          for the work of the ministry,
         for the edifying of the body of Christ."

 I know it could probably be written out more beautifully, but I left it just as I wrote it.  Sometimes when we are going through some trials, especially with the people in our church, I have a tendency to say (like Moses), "Lord, why did you give us these people!"  But He reminds me over and over that I am not "above" my calling.  I am not worthy to be here.  I am weak and sinful.  I am not even above them, yet HE has called me and put me here.  Thank You, Lord, for choosing me and using me!  Thank you also for Your grace and strength as I am such a weak vessel!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

To Brighten Your Day

Her giggles never fail to brighten my days and bring a smile to my face. :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

To Surrender a Light Bulb

This past year since furlough has been a trying and exhausting year.
Over and over again, I found myself telling God that I needed a break.  I needed fellowship.
Over and over I found myself brought to a place where I was physically so weak that all I could do was lay down on the bathroom floor and cry, begging God for just some relief from my exhaustion.

At the moment, my mind is drawing a blank as to why it was so physically and spiritually draining for me.
It just felt like we had one thing after another happen.

I knew and know that this is where God wants us, but still I struggled with wanting to buy a ticket and fly back to America...even if it was just for a visit.

Would it have helped?
Probably not, but there is always this fantasy that "everything is better when OFF the mission field".

It's funny.
I thought I was surrendered.
Fully surrendered.
Yet I've come to realize, especially over the course of this past year, how truly selfish I am.

As our church has grown, I have been selfish of my husband's time and attention.
As our family has grown, I have been selfish of my own time.

On the outside, oh yeah.  I was surrendered.
I live in a small home.
Away from my family.

You know the list...

But I wasn't even willing to surrender a light bulb.

Oh, it wasn't your ordinary light bulb.
No.  This one is 'cool'.
You just pull the plug and there's light.
I liked this little light for doing my devotions and it is great when we lose electricity.

Well, a couple in our church lost electricity a few weeks ago and asked to borrow it.
My first reaction was, "NOOOO!!!"  They don't NEED it.  They just want it because it's neat.
They have matches and flashlights.  This isn't practical anyways because the batteries run out so quickly.
The Lord convicted me of my selfishness and I knew it wasn't just for them, but I wasn't willing to surrender it to HIM.  He has blessed me with SO much, and yet I wasn't willing to give a little light bulb.  So we gave it to them...happily.

Again, a few weeks ago I was feeling completely exhausted.
I just begged God for a break...maybe even for Thanksgiving. 
Just a few days to visit with another missionary.
God answered my prayer and another missionary couple invited us to stay with them for Thanksgiving!
You can imagine my excitement!

It wasn't going to be easy since it was the week we were doing all of our registration work, but we booked our tickets.

The day before we were to leave, we 'happened' to call a couple in our church to see if they could take care of our dog.
They were drunk.
Eric said he was going to go get them.
Right then I KNEW what was going to happen and what God would ask of me.
How I hardened to the idea!
The Lord KNEW how much I NEEDED this break!

Well, by the time Eric got home hours later, the Lord softened my heart so that I was willing to surrender.
We still had a GREAT Thanksgiving and I had the energy to go on.

Eric helped this couple a few times the past two weeks, yet they continued to get drunk.
We kept talking about how needed a mission was here, where people like that could stay...
we just needed a bigger house.
Yep, you guessed it!
Yesterday, they begged for help as they just couldn't stop.  So, we moved them into one of our rooms.
Another young man in our church is staying here too to help us.  (He is sleeping in the mudroom.)
And you guess what?
As I laid on the ground begging God for strength, I found out...
It was not a vacation I needed,
It was HIM.
Getting up from prayer, HE renewed my strength and my joy.

I have found out this past year,
surrender is not a one time thing...
it must be done daily.

And sometimes it's not the big things.

Sometimes it's just a light bulb.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving!
We didn't have a big thanksgiving dinner this year 
because we were planning on visiting other missionaries, 
but plans changed at the last minute.  
We still had a great day.
Vasily has been eating with us lately, so he came over and visited.
We also had a lot of Indians and Pilgrims. :)
Eric eluded the camera all day, so sorry, there's no pictures of him...unless you count the Indian mask.
Daniel ripped his Indian hat before we got started.
(Thank you, Anna and Lydia for making all the hats and decorations!  You did a GREAT job!)

Anna didn't think Abigail should be left out so kept adding feathers to her headband.

Everyone got to take turns being the photographer, so we have lots of pictures of Mama.

Then we played games...Sammy photobombed the first picture. hehe
I noticed afterwards that I didn't get as many as him.  Poor guy!

And lastly, EVERYONE wanted pumpkin pie.  BUT I didn't have time to buy a pumpkin (or squash) ahead of time.  Thankfully, I had enough pumpkin in the freezer to make mini pumpkin pies.  Eric was especially excited that they were gluten-refined sugar free.  We were planning on breaking it, but since we had to be home, he asked that I try to stay by the diet.  It has been fun to come up with different ways to make the things he likes.  He was even more excited about the cream and ate all the left over.  It was a cashew cream.  It's not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie and what's pumpkin pie without cream?


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