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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Women will be Women

Women will be women no matter where they live, what language they speak, or how much money they have. This blog post was inspired by a young lady, who did not want her picture taken today. I was wanting to get s picture of all these Bhutanese ladies sitting on a couch. Well as soon as I said "Everyone look at me!" She turned her head and moved from the couch. It made me think... How many times have I done that? How many times have you done that? Most women always take a double take on what they are wearing or how their hair or make-up look. So just because she is Bhutanese and comes from a different part of the world she was worried about the same thing you and I would worry about before we got our picture taken.

Then it made me think about my travels to India and the things we found out about the ladies there. Even though the women we met had been through the hardest things you could ever imagine... they were still women. They would get together with their girlfriends and would talk about their husbands, or mother-in-laws (which I NEVER do)... JUST LIKE YOU AND I!

Women are women no matter what! But, as women sometimes we get consumed with what others have and then we see how pretty it is and we WANT one just like it. We were once content but then discontent falls upon us. But, when the Lord reveals to us our sin or how much we already have... it is convicting. Today I took a sweet Bhutanese friend to Michael's (a craft store) to get her some more yarn to crochet to finish a project she had been working on for a while. She was very persistent that I take her TODAY! I was pleased to take her because this young lady doesn't ask for much and she melted my heart the first time I ever met her. Thankfully we found the yarn and we got back to the apartments and we parted ways (after I got a hug). I went to visit a dear friend and told her where I was and that I took the lady to get yarn... I thought my sweet friend might get jealous or maybe a little upset, but she didn't. She told me how much she really liked the young lady and that she loves how simple she is. My sweet friend it so right.

Then I began to ponder on being simple. The Lord has been making my life very simple lately. He has been directing me to where I should go and how this is time to be still and quiet. He has simplified me. He has also made me realize I don't need a lot of stuff to make me happy, but he has filled my heart with a lot of love. So much love I don't know what to do with it all, but sometimes just to cry. I think we all need to simplify... actually I have talked to 2 different people today, who have told me they are simplifying stuff in their life or down sizing. WOW God! He always catches me off guard in an awesome way! And another thing the Lord has shown me is as He has been simplifying lives... He has been uniting hearts.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Our Children...

Here is what I have been thinking about for the past couple of weeks... What are we teaching our children? The next generation...

Are we teaching them about money and fame? Are we telling them or living by example that more money is better? Or being recognized by a title is how and what we live for?

Are we teaching our children to boast about themselves and what they have accomplished? Are we teaching them bigger is better?

Tonight I was at a "churchy" related thing (which turned out to be something totally different than I expected) and at first it was good and the choir and instruments were so good... I felt the Spirit, but as soon as some men got up on the stage and shared about all their church had and continued to do... It turned me off an here is why... because I friend of mine is very close to this ministry and she told me it sounded like lies. I have begun to help with this ministry and it made me question a few things this man was saying. Don't get me wrong I am sure this church has really helped this ministry, but why was he continuing to boast about something that needs so much help still?

There was so much talk about money and titles and boasting... It made me feel uneasy. Then it made me think (and feel compelled to write this blog post)... What are we teaching our kids, the next generation? Are we teaching them of Truth or of the world?? What do our Maker want is to boast about?

"Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:3-9

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A new darkness...

First, let me just say this is not me bashing anything or anyone... this a journal of how my Savior is molding me, bending me, and stretching me as I grow in my faith. My journey of how He is breaking my heart and opening my eyes to things we don't see day to day without His authority. So what I am about to share is part of this journey He has me on and WOW!

Today is Thursday, my day to go visit my Bhutanese friends. I truly look forward to these days, because you NEVER know what you are going to get or where the Lord will lead your feet. I had an idea on what today was going to look like, because I made an appointment with a new friend the week before (I blogged a little bit about her last week). A few days before today I was informed my new friend comes from a high cast Hindu family and I thought that was pretty good information before I went in completely unaware. This was my first time in their home and it was very clean and inviting... and if you know me I vocalize everything, so I told my new friend and her mother-in-law how much I loved their home, so they took me around and showed me their rooms. Okay great! :) The mother-in-law insisted she show me her room first so, we go to her room and she was all about showing me her shrine of her gods. She was bowing before her gods and she gave me a very strong impression she wanted me to bow as well... while all this was going on I had a voice in my ear saying "You will not bow before any other gods but me.". I did not bow! I was then taken to my friends room and it was very nice too. She also had a little shrine as well, but she did not bow in front of it or anything like what happened with her mother-in-law.

The mother-in-law was very happy I was in her home and she wanted me to sit and look at all these pictures she had of her family and so I did. I really enjoy looking at pictures... the people in the pictures, what they may have been thinking or doing, what the surroundings were. It is just one of my weird things... I will sit there forever with you and your pictures. :) Anyways, my new friend and I sat and did henna... actually she did henna on me... not the best henna I have had on me and not sure if I still want it on me after what happened later and the darkness that hovered over me later, but none the less it is on me for the next week or so. My new friend and I got to know eachother more and that was very nice, but after about an hour it was time to go. Then my friend's husband came home for lunch and it was very nice to meet him and talk with him a little. We began to talk about how Americans are very wasteful (this conversation started when I started sharing my views on advertisements we get in the mail) and after the American bashing I said "Well, there will be an end one day and none of this will be here anymore." And that was the end and he both said our goodbyes.

I then went and visited my sweet friend, Ranuka, who loves me and my children very well. I am very thankful to her and her husband, Kumar. They are always very hospitable and opened to talk to me about many things. I thank the Lord for their friendship and pray one day our hearts will be united in Christ.

When I left the apartments I had a TERRIBLE headache. I came home and laid down for a bit and when I woke up I had this heaviness upon me, a dark looming feeling. I tried to call Margie and talk with her about my experiences today, but she did not answer so I text messaged my sister, Andrea. I started to explain the happenings of the day and she wrote me quickly "Call it out in the name of Jesus. Don't allow it to hang around." and so I did. It instantly lifted. Satan did not like that I stood before his little figurines in the altar, he has worked so hard at confusing and at his bondage schemes, that he wrapped me up in some of his darkness. I am so thankful for the blood of Jesus and that I can simply call out to Him and He hears me... and that I am a child of righteousness. Thank you Jesus.

I know without a doubt the Lord is preparing me for something...

As I ponder about what happened today I can't help think about how a lot of us so called believers in Jesus Christ think it is okay to be okay with these breakable gods. These gods that if were dropped would shatter. How is it okay to coexist with so many who do not know the LOVE of Christ? How is it okay to coexist with so many who have never been told or introduced to the Gospel stories that are all connected to the perfect Lamb? How is it okay to give up on the ones, who have never had the chance to hear the name of Jesus because it is too hard or too uncomfortable? I understand loving them where they are and building a relationship, but why do we stop there? These other gods could NEVER be connected to the One true God! You wanna know why... because a lot of people (most all of them) don't know the names of their gods or to top that off... they don't know what that god does or maybe even... why do they worship him/her.

So my question is... Why follow and put so much effort into these gods that you don't know and who doesn't know you?

"Listen to me, O my people, while I give you stern warnings.
O Israel, if you would only listen to me!
You must never have a foreign god;
you must not bow down before a false god.
For it was I, the Lord your God,
 who rescued you from the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide, and I will fit it with good things." Psalm 81:8-10

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Genuine Love

The last couple of days genuine love has been on my mind. What is genuine love? How do I make genuine love part of my everyday life? Not just loving my family with this genuine love, but taking it outside the inside of my house.

I was challenged when I was talking to a dear brother through Facebook instant messaging this weekend and I told him how much I miss his and his wife's genuine love. He wrote back and said "No sister I think you have this love also". It got me thinking... Do I have this love? Do I love with this genuine love and others feel it? If you read my blog often then you know I am pretty hard on myself... I think lowly of myself... thinking I am not good enough to live this life in Christ (and I am not, but by his blood and this death I am and I am beyond thankful). I began telling myself I do not love with this genuine love... but then I began to think... I love my brothers and sister in India and Bangladesh with this love... I love my Bhutanese brothers, sisters, and friends with this genuine love. But, what about my own nationality? Do I do that well?

I don't think I love my fellow Americans very well. Truthfully we are overly blessed to the point we don't know we are being blessed because of our silly little problems we face every single day. For instance, when Hailee gets home from school and Heidi is no longer the "only child" the house gets loud, tears fall over nothing, people scream at each other, homework has to be done, cooking dinner, and then cleaning... I was thinking at 5:00 pm today "When is this day going to be over?!?". I stopped what I was thinking and I was completely ashamed! This day has been nothing but perfect and here I am complaining over NOTHING! We all do this... and we know nothing about true blessings. We get so caught up in ourselves we forget about the bigger picture.

Last week I was asked by a friend "How are you doing?" I said, "I am good, nothing worth complaining about." And my friend said "That is a very Christian response." That caught me completely off guard. I said to my friend (which I can't remember my exact words) something like... in the big picture I don't have the right to complain. Truthfully I was at the beginning of a cold and laid on the couch all day, but in the big picture I was not dying! I had a cold! I was fine and I was thankful to be well enough to be at church and learn more about the character of my Savior.

Father is teaching me more about genuine love. He is opening my eyes and teaching me to show it to my own people/nationality. I am become more aware of my issues (which are like yours), but come on people open your eyes to the BIGGER picture! We are not the only ones on this planet! There are so many people that need to be loved and cared for... don't just keep this love God gave us inside your homes. Smile always. Be cheerful when you talk to others. Even when I don't feel like it... I do it anyways because it isn't always about me. I am being taught that as well... it isn't always about me. :)

If you think this way or not I believe love is a Spiritual gift. Gifts given specifically to followers of Christ to edify His church. I believe service is also a unified gift, but I won't go there. Love is a precious gift given to us by God. A gift that without truly knowing Him and what He did here on this earth and knowing why he died for us... I have seen many faces that look so empty because they do not know this gift of Love. This deep desire inside to share and pour out on everyone you meet. This gift is given freely and without truly knowing it for yourself... I am sorry to say you do not know genuine love. I once did not know true genuine love, but when I became a believer in my Lord and Savior my eyes were open and I was given this Love.

Just think about your Genuine Love and what it looks like in your life.

Friday, February 15, 2013

My dear brother, Joe

It has been about 4 months since returning home from Bangladesh and the country and the people are still deep in my heart. Even people I met in Kolkata over a year ago are still deep in my heart... maybe it has some thing to do with that they are all Bengali. Who knows? Bengali people must just be so warm and loving so, when you meet them they suck you in and you love them forever. What do you think?

I have decided I need to get back to talking about the Bangladesh mission tripI went on in October. I am going to share about another friendship, who is more like a brother. Today I am going to tell you about my brother Joe. Joe is Mortuza's blood brother but, my brother in Christ. Joe and I met in Chittagong and I never thought what an impact he would make on me but, on the second day in Chittagong he translated my Testimony. First off it is very hard to share my testimony because, it is a very personal part of me that is being given to my listeners and I then wonder... when they receive this personal part of me, what are they going to do with it? So, having Joe translate my story for the first time in Bangladesh was very special. Not only was he a listener as well but, he was going to translate it to the best of his ability the same way I shared it. And if you didn't know... 1 English word translates to 5 Bengali words... it is not easy. But, I believe Joe did a wonderful job! After I was done sharing my testimony all I wanted to do was hug Joe and he told me "I do not have a problem hugging you but, because of our culture it would not be right." Yay, that hurt a bit. :)


This is Joe and I after lunch. See he did touch me a little... :)
The NO touching was kind of hard for me. I really learned how much I touch and how much I need to touch. Do you ever think about how much you touch? When you are restricted and have to consciously think about not touching it is hard and makes you very aware. For instance... you had to think about where you sat and how close you would be sitting to a male, or if we were praying for a male and laying hands on him we had to make sure it was okay first, etc. But, truthfully they were all okay with it. We took a group picture and all the men were very close to us women... I was very surprised, but I think they liked us. ;)

Joe sharing his vision for his people.
Before Joe left us to return home to his family he shared his vision to Uncle Gil and Brother Brian. Joe has a BIG vision for his Bengali people, who are homeless, for the orphans, the oppressed, and the sick. He has such a BIG tender heart that and he completely took Andrea and I into his heart that overwhlemed us to tears. His young man has a BIG godly vision and all he needs is support- money to make God's kingdom in Bangladesh grow and flourish. When my brother left us in Chittagong I cried. My heart was unitied with his and all I wanted was to be with him more and learn more about him and his vision. All I wanted to do was hug him and thank him for everything, but we could not hug, but I could cry like a baby. ;) Nothing is more amazing than what God does in a short time with fellow believers and bringing them so close.

3 brothers- Salauddin, Mortuza, and Joe
 
My heart is completely united with the believers in Bangladesh and by God's grace I will be returning in the following trip in October. I will be having a fundraiser to help me return, so keep an eye out.

Here is a glimpse into our trip to Bangladesh

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A life I am thankful for...

Everyday I pray the Lord will take this day and make it into whatever he wants... a lot of the times my flesh gets in the way and I completely ruin what could have been so glorifying to my Father. It makes me sick when I give into the world or fleshly desires (which is never good). But, days like today when I am blessed to get a glimpse into what he is up to or planning. Then I ponder on what next week will hold.

A few weeks ago, I met a very sweet young Bhutanese lady and when we met she shared more with me in our first meeting then most do... it usually takes me a good while to learn deep details in some of the ladies lives I have met. Maybe she felt very comfortable with me in our first meeting or maybe she really needed to talk to someone... who knows? But, today with our second meeting of really having a good conversation I began to feel the urging of the Holy Spirit. I started thinking on this and I am ready for what the Lord wants of me. My life is no longer my own but, my Saviors and I don't live for myself but, I live for my Creator. I am so excited about this new friendship, because I am thinking the Lord is giving me this quiet time in my life to build relationships with my Bhutanese friends and to pray and meditate on what my Father is preparing me for in this life.

We have plans for next week and I am excited to share more on our next meeting.

"The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Sing the praises of the Lord, enthroned in Zion;
proclaim among the nations what he has done." Psalm 9:9-11 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Quiet... Shhh...

Last year, the Lord really began to pull me away from people, activities, etc. He told me this was a time for quiet. And let me tell ya' He wasn't kidding. This year also continues to be very quiet and He intended on that as well. Truthfully, He has secluded me to my family and that is about it... occasionally I will have friends over, but not much. Don't get me wrong you are invited and I love to have a good conversation... this is all God. I know it sounds crazy that He would seclude me from believers but, truthfully this has been a good time. The noise and distraction of the business is gone... I can't blame that anymore for taking my time away from God. But, of course I have made new distractions and Father is now telling me I need to get rid of those too. :)

When I returned home from Bangladesh I began a fast from Facebook and it was so good. During the day light hours I would not be on Facebook, but when that sun went down I was all about catching up on what the day brought. I began getting caught up in it again and my fasting ended and Facebook over took my time with God. This week I have started again... staying off Facebook during the day light hours and let me tell you... it feels so good. My mind is not bogged down on what is going on with everyone but, simply frees me from bondage to my idol.

My life continues to be very quiet. I talk to no one all day unless you call or I call, or I see you out and about and we talk... that's it and so simple. I dreaded this seclusion at first, but not so much anymore. :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Even though...

Even though I am a believer and a follower of my Lord Jesus Christ... I catch myself still having doubt in this life but, lately He has been teaching me He has it all under control. Even though I am an adult and have children it is hard to think Father has a plan for my child even though she is so young... He is planning her future as we speak. Laying things out in her path that I wish would be easier for her... wishing I could help her in her "problems" and "difficulties". I can do all I can in my own power... but I CAN NOT do it all. I am having to let go and let God. He has her perfect little life in His hands and He is shaping it into how He will receive His glory. Now is the time for her to begin to be shaped and refined to face what is next. I hope and pray even through these difficulties in her young little life, she will look up to her Creator and know without a doubt He's got this. I pray my life can be an example to her and encourage her... I pray the Lord will speak to her sweet quiet Spirit and fill her with everything she needs.
Today in a school, where one of my Aunt teaches junior high math, there was a shooting... a young boy took his own life because, he thought there was no other way. I pray our Father has mercy on his soul and gives him the comfort he did not get here on this earth. This school is in a small town in Oklahoma and it makes me think of all the parents, teachers, etc. probably thought "Oh, a shooting will never happen here..." and it happened. How many of us think this very same thing? Even though I could NEVER imagine in a million years what it would feel like to lose one of my babies but, if it did happen and this was the will for my child's life... I know I would mourn and be filled with unimaginable grief, but I pray I will rejoice in the day of meeting her again and rejoice that she is with God, the sustainer of life, comforter, and lover of our souls.
Even though things in this life go totally opposite of what I had imagined it always turns out to be the most amazing life! God has gone over and above... and my words will never come close to explaining how amazing my Father is and what He has done in my life so far... I can't wait to see what is next and praise His holy name as I walk through this life being covered by His grace and mercy.

Friday, February 1, 2013

My new Life song...

With this heart open wide
From the depths from the heights
I will bring a sacrifice
With these hands lifted high
Hear my song hear my cry
I will bring a sacrifice
I will bring a sacrifice

Chorus:
I lay me down
I’m not my own
I belong to you alone
Lay me down
Lay me down
Hand on my heart
This much is true
There’s no life apart from you
Lay me down
Lay me down
Oh oh oh
Lay me down
Lay me down
[ From: http://www.metrolyrics.com/lay-me-down-lyrics-chris-tomlin.html ]

Verse 2:
Letting go of my pride
Giving up all my rights
Take this life and let it shine
Take this life and let it shine

Chorus

Bridge:
It will be my joy to say
Your will
Your way
It will be my joy to say
Your will
Your way
It will be my joy to say
Your will
Your way
always