Feb 22, 2016

How Majestic

Something happened last week. My husband and I carted all but everything we own out into the front yard and sold it . . . all of it. When it was all said and done we had a small load to hall off to Good Will, but not much. It's gone. We are sleeping on camping cots, I'm currently typing on a camp fold out table, and our living room is full of camp chairs. It's cozy, in a campy sort of way. There are still some pieces of furniture around that belong to our parents, but our stuff is pretty much gone.

That day started at about 5 AM when Luke and I got up and began lugging stuff outside. It was c.o.l.d. The sale started at 9, but by 8 the yard was full of buyers and we could hardly keep up with all the action. I was in charge of making change, and my hands were so cold I could hardly count ones. We were on our feet working that sale until about 1:30 when it finally slowed down enough to sit down as browsers searched through the remains. It was about that time the sun edged it's way over the roof line and things started warming up. . . a lot. I sat outside until about 4, getting sunburned and selling the remnants. At 5 we rounded up the kids and decided to head to Furr's for dinner, I was WAY to tired to cook, or even think at this point.

The best way I can describe us would be to compare how you might feel after a day on the slopes. You know when you go skiing, you're freezing cold, and exhausted from the physical work of skiing, and you're sunburned on one half of your face, and you feel totally pooped in every way. Your hair is sticking out in every direction from the hat you wore all day, and you're to tired to talk . . . you can barely manage to lift the fork to your face at dinner before you shuffle your way to bed and sleep in whatever position you happen to land in. You get the picture, right? That was us as we walked, or maybe I should say shuffled, into Furrs last Saturday. We went through the line, filled our plates, and sat down to eat. After a while my husband got up for seconds . . . that's when the majesty kicked in. Let me just share with you what a tremendously loving, FAITHFUL, caring, wonderful awesome Savior we serve. Let me just tell you the kind of power my God has. Here's what happened:

Luke is walking back to our table with a plate full of seconds, and a man approaches him and says, "Excuse me sir, I don't mean to bother you . . . but are you a believer?"

Luke was somewhat surprised, but he smiled, shook the man's hand, and said, "As a matter of fact, I am!"

The man went on to tell my husband that the minute our ragged bunch of 7 walked into the building he and his mother, who was dining with him, could see the 'Joy of the Lord' on our family. He said that his mother had been so moved that she was shedding tears over it. Luke went on to tell the man about the journey we are taking to Mexico, and how the Lord had moved in our lives recently. Then Luke came back to us, the man went back to his mother, and Luke mentioned something to me about it. A few minutes later the man and his mother came by to say "Hi". We small talked for a few minutes, the woman was still teary eyed as she said she had seen 'the Joy of the Lord' on us, and then the woman handed us a check for $300 to help us on our journey. Luke and I were blown away.

First, let me tell you the significance of the $300. At our garage sale we earned exactly $300 less than we needed for our family to have all expenses covered for our first 5 months in Guadalajara including Luke's school expenses. So it was pretty cool when God just kind of said, "Oh, here's that $300 you needed".

Now, let me tell you what really kissed our hearts. Let me just say, my husband and I and our 5 children have been out to eat plenty of times. Usually, we somewhat have our acts together. We might even be sporting coordinating outfits and flashing smiles and head nods to strangers (that's how you spread the love of Jesus these days, you know). Despite our smiles and nods and cute clothes, never before in the history of us eating out has anyone ever asked us if we believe in Jesus. Furthermore, never before in the history of us eating out has anyone ever mentioned to us that they could see the 'Joy of the Lord' on our happy, smiling, Sunday afternoon faces. But on this day, this day that we put our faith into actual action, and sold everything we own as an act of obedience to what we believed in our hearts the Lord was asking us to do. On this day, that we were chilled and deep fried. This day that we were $300 dollars short of our known expenses. It was this day, this amazing day that God shot an arrow straight into our exhausted hearts. He said to us, "I see you. I see what you did today. You did good."

We were left dumbfounded by how faithful our God is. People, this God we serve is alive. Show me another God who can do for you what my God did for me on that day. He has power. Real power, not earthly power. More than earthly power. Power to coordinate events, and people, and timing. Power to make money move and stop moving. Power to harden and soften the heart. Power to resurrect you from your dead life, like he did mine. He is faithful. That dinner could have gone by without event and Luke and I would still have known the call the Lord has on our lives. He proved His faithfulness to us on the day we proved our obedience to Him. Our God is tender. He spoke to us in a way we could never have seen coming, at a time we didn't expect, with tenderness we can't forget. We already knew He was good, but he really showed off on that day, and we were impressed.

If you happen to be reading this, and you don't really believe that you are known by this Majestic God of mine, I dare you to actually do what you think the Lord is calling you to do. If you feel like he's not watching you, give Him something to see. Show Him that He is your God, and He will show you that you are His people. You will never feel, or be, safer than you are following Jesus Christ.

To sum up, all of our stuff is gone . . . and we've never been more at peace with who we are and what we are doing. Thanks be to God.

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
above the heavens.
From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings,
and crowned him with glory and honor. 

You made him ruler over the works of your hands; 
and put everything under his feet:
all flocks and herds and the beasts of the field, 
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
all that swim the paths of the sea. 

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth. 

Psalm 8

Feb 8, 2016

Blame it On Mexico

The last time I made mention on this blog I had two fewer children. Needless to say, some things have changed since then! I am posting here again because my children and I would like to use this space to keep in touch with our family and friends while we do our best to follow the Lord's voice in our lives.

The 7 of us will be heading to a small suburb of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico in April. Luke will be attending a 5 month Discipleship Training School, during which he will learn what mission work is all about. We do not know what we will do after the 5 months of school. We trust the Lord will guide us in His good time:). During this 5 month period, the kids and I will still keep much of the same routine: meals, school, nap time, etc . . . however we will be doing those things about 1200 miles south of here.  I imagine we will be helping out in all kinds of ways once we get there, although I'm not exactly sure what that will look like at this time. I'm hopeful that we will make friends quickly to help ease the transition for the kids (and me!). We have already started communication with another missionary family from Tyler, Texas who moved down there just 3 weeks ago.

Without a doubt, the hardest thing about this is the sad fact that we will be leaving the loving family and the wonderful community of friends that we love so much. I'm sure that the full impact of losing all of you won't hit us until we are long gone. However, we hope and pray that you will take time to send us emails, updates, and a sense of belonging to you still. I hope that the relationships we have here in Amarillo can be maintained and nourished across all the miles between us!

Despite the hard things, we want to follow the Lord's leading in this life. Every Christian who has felt the lift of guilt, shame, and sin come off of their shoulders knows the overwhelming sense of gratitude that comes with the freedom made possible by our humble, gracious Savior, Jesus Christ. We know that whatever we are able to do for Him will be nothing compared to what he did for us, and what he continues to do daily for all who put their faith in Him. We hope that all will come to intimately know the tender loving kindness of our Lord. We hope we are able to live up to the calling we have.

Titus 3:3-8
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of our right living, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.