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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Compassion for the ones who are hard to look at

What would you do?

Your sitting on a couch in you church minding your own business and all the sudden you see a man walk in to use the phone (right next to you sitting on a side table). He starts talking to you and you realize... He is homeless. He leaves his message and hangs up. Then he turns to you and has a 10 to 15 minute conversation with you.

How would you react? Would you sit and listen to him?

I chose to sit there and listen. He came in for a reason and I was there. I could not turn my back on him, because I am no better than him... having a roof over my head, money in my pocket, and food in my belly doesn't make me righteous. How I treat him, speak to him, and pray for him is the way my Savior sees me as righteous.

He spoke of all kinds of things, but you could tell he was hurting. Yes, he smelled of booze, but he didn't hide it. He spoke of his life and how cold it was tonight, but he wasn't going to freeze because he had a newspaper and he was going to start a fire to keep warm. He told me how he was going to drink his coffee (he pulled the container out of his pocket and showed me) and he was going to cook eggs and make them hard-boiled.

I mean talk about a hard life. It really brought everything in perspective.

Later I thought about how hard it probably was for him to walk through those church doors. To me he looked like he had his best shoes on, his best jeans, he seemed pretty clean, and his hair was nicely trimmed. I wonder if this was something he had been wanting to do for a while. I will probably never know, but I see it as a privilege to have had that moment to sit and listen to everything he had to say.

When I left the church I saw him talking to Pastor Doyle. I pray the church will show compassion to him and help him through his troubles that he is willing to accept and open up for help.

My heart is heavy.

‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’...

'For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’...

 ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’ Matthew 25:40-45


 

The Amazing Hug of Blessings

Obviously if you read my last blog post you can tell I am far from perfect. I expect I will never be perfect until the day I am in heaven (after my time of judgment. HA!). I hope you know I use this blog as a way to journal my emotions and share how God is working... If it was all about me I would never ever in a million years share my dirty laundry with the world. But I will say I feel so much better after confessing and typing out how horrible I was acting or feeling... And let me tell you I am growing from my sinful mistakes.

Everyday I am feeling blessed by our heavenly Father... sometimes it is really small and sometimes really big, but either big or small it always feels like an amazing hug... a hug that keeps me pushing on through this hard life. The most resent blessing was through Bob. Yesterday Bob was stuck at his parent's house in Illinois as he had no car or anyone to come get him or hang out with him (I know poor Bob). He did have a plan to work on a speech he would share with the congregation at his grandmother's funeral that is taken place today. He called me wanting to practice the speech on my ears. As he read it to me my heart filled with joy as he read the sweet words. He first proclaimed that the Lord was in his heart and that he could rest assure that he would see Grandma again in eternity. This was something I have never heard Bob profess publicly. He was sharing his testimony in front of the hardest crowd, which is family. He was sharing his heart and the comfort he had in his faith. Hearing those words was like the Lord singing over me. Absolutely no words!

Today he shared that testimony of his faith and I couldn't be more proud of my husband. The Lord continues to bless me and my family in the "littlest" ways. Some would see this as nothing, but to me it is everything.

Bob went on in his speech sharing memories of spending time with Grandma Greene and the wonderful memories he will hang on to for forever. My heart is overjoyed by these special moments he is making with his family that lives so far away.

Bob comes home tonight and we are eager for his return, but I am so thankful that the Lord hears our concerns and guides us ever so gently.  

Monday, February 24, 2014

Forgive Me as You Rest in Peace

So I am just going to come out and say it... I am a horrible person, who likes to hurt the ones closest to me.

Why is it that we think it is okay to hurt the people closest to us, who love us so much? 

I would never act, think, feel, or say some of things I do to anyone else except my husband, Bob or my two girls. Why in our minds do we think it is acceptable to behave this way? Oh... Because I was born a sinner and even though I have Jesus in my heart I still have deep sin. Agggghhhh! I am beyond annoyed.

Let me tell you why this whole blog post is coming to life.

Bob's  grandmother passed away Saturday. She had been on the list of "any day now" for about a month. The doctor said she probably wouldn't make it to her 90th birthday, but she did! Grandma was 90 years old and lived a long life. She now is with her beloved husband in heaven. Praise The Lord! 

All of Bob's family lives in Illinois and if you don't know Illinois is very far from Texas. Bob wanted to fly up there to be with his family during this time. Of course all I could think about was the cost of the ticket! Ugh! The tickets prices weren't bad, but the point of it all is we have been working our butts off to pay off our debt and BAM we added a little more to it! In my mind this completely set us back! (Please don't judge me)

I made Bob feel bad about wanting to go and brought up how he was our main provider in our home blah blah blah. I did what I told myself not to do and what I have been trying to get better at not doing... And let me tell ya... I did a great job! He didn't "want" to go and he kept saying I will call my mom and talk with her. Truthfully in my mind I was thinking "It's about time you see it my way!" But I felt horrible too.

I went and took a shower and really prayed and spoke my concerns to God and asked him to control the situation and my heart changed... I went downstairs and I really pushed that he should go. I thought of my grandmother or any other family member I am close to... I would want to be with my family no matter what! I thought about how many wonderful memories Bob most have had with his grandma and how I was ruining that for him. I love Bob more and more each day and he deserves way more love than I give him, but I had a come to Jesus moment.

Bob is leaving tomorrow to be with his family and I am very happy! I am happy he gets to end the wonderful memories with grandma and be there to make new ones. Sometimes that is all you need... Is to just be there.

I am sad the girls and I will not be there to close this chapter, but we will be there with Bob, because Bob takes a piece of us every where he goes.

I started this blog last night while I laid in bed and now I am finishing it laying in bed on the next night. I have been debating if I should even post my terrible feels and sin for all the world to read about. I just want to hide behind my happy mask and not let anyone see into my sinful heart. It hurts to think back on my pride and selfishness... It hurts to relive the feeling I had toward my better half... And what makes it worse is he had no idea how I felt... I was just being nasty.

That's the thing about sin. Yes, Jesus dies for it, I believe he died for me and threw my sin as far as the east is from the west, I believe Jesus is God the Father who came down in flesh, died and rose to life on the third day. He died because I am sinful and he has washed me by his blood... And now I am robed in righteousness. The only reason I remember my sin is because of the evil one. He likes to remind me and rub it in my face. Jesus conquered my sin and nothing can change that.

So I am going to close with Grandma Jennie Greene... I didn't know her very well but we did visit her a couple times in the nursing home. The first time I met Grandma Greene I couldn't believe how together and with it she was. She was involved in all these activities at the nursing home and knitted items to sale in the store. She was always wanting pictures and of course I was really good at sending her pictures when we had one child, but after Heidi she didn't get many. Oops. We all got to talk to Grandma on her birthday last week and she seemed so with it. She told us all how much she loved us and that she was praying for us. What a sweetheart! She really was wonderful and I know she will be terribly missed.

Bob and his aunts and uncle have been going through a box full of pictures today... Lots and lots of pictures. I know they all have been bonding together threw this time. What a joy to hear that Bob is working really hard to put a collage together for the wake and funeral. 

After such a huge fit I was throwing inside my mind yesterday and now I see so much joy and happiness with Bob and his family as they make lasting memories. Like I have said before... The Lord is doing some major readjusting in my heart and breaking me of a sin that has been entangling me for way to long.

Rest in peace, Grandma Greene

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Child like Faith

 
One of the greatest joys as a Christian believer is when your child accepts Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, but another is watching your children grow and live out this new life.

Hailee accepted Christ as her Savior when she was 5 years old, but has not been baptized. I have not pushed her to be baptized, because I believe that is between her and the Lord. He has perfect timing and her timing to profess and show that the Lord is her everything has not come to be... but that doesn't mean she does not believe.

I think Hailee has a very hard time verbalizing who God is to her, because I think she thinks there is a certain way to do it... maybe she thinks there are certain words that have to be used. This makes me sad, because she is already feeling pressure from this world we live in. My prayer is that the Lord will conquer these feelings to have to measure up to the worlds standards. Also, I pray as she matures she will live out her God-centered life the way our Father guides her to.

The reason I am writing about this is because she is already following our Father in her own way. It is not through her being vocal, but through the way God has created her... through quiet.

I was participating in my normal library time at the girl's school this morning. Hailees's class came in and Hailee's teacher waved at me to come over to her, so I walked over and she told me they wrote a paragraph on where they would be in 100 years. She told me she was going to put all the kids papers together and make a class book, but she decided to give me Hailee's paper because it was worthy to be framed and hung on the wall.

This what it says: In 100 years... "I died because I stoped breathing. I died at 100 years old. I was a Christian I traveled all over the world to teach people about Jesus."

What is more perfect then conformation from my Father that she is understanding and maturing in her faith! It really doesn't get better than this! I am praising the Lord for his faithfulness and continuing to hear my prayer and continuing to have grace and mercy on His children.

It has been hard not seeing my Bhutanese friends as I normally did. It has been hard to let that part of my life go, but he is blessing me through my obedience and reassuring me that I am doing what he has called me to do in this very moment. I am beyond thankful.

"Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness." Colossians 2:7

 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Grace?

The past couple of week the word grace has been swirling in my head. I have been asking God "What is grace?" Here is the definition of grace
(in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

 

WOW! Truthfully I just now pulled this definition up on Google.

 

Grace has been talked about a lot lately. It is coming up everywhere... in the Bible study I just began and at church... and the Lord has been ringing the word grace in my ear. Grace is huge! I mean... Jesus was here on this earth, sinless, perfect, not lacking a darn thing and God used his perfect Son for the ones who mocked him, beat him, yelled at him, said curse words at him, etc. God didn't just have Jesus die for the people back 2000 years ago, but he died for me and you. I didn't even know God until about 7 years ago, but He knew me a looonnnggg time ago. Jesus became my sin... took on my sin... and died a horrible death for ME! He died for the one who is drawn to sin... he died for the one who shows no remorse for their sin... he died for the one who murders, lies, uses His name in vain, the one who follows and participates in idolatry, etc. He showed us grace. He has given us freedom from our sins by his perfect Lamb that was sacrificed for you and me.

 

So I have known this grace, but grace seems to be getting bigger in my world. He shows me grace everyday... He could easily take my life for the sin I continually act on, but he doesn't. He loves me for who I am and gently reminds me of my sin.

 

But, I have begun my Stuck bible study he has revealed more of his grace...

 

"In Christ's death I found grace. Grace to be a sinner. Grace to not measure up. Grace for people around me to disappoint me. Grace for my kids and my husband to be human. It is important we understand the reason why we can be imperfect. We don't have to try to measure up or pretend God rescued us from that impossible pursuit through the blood of Jesus Christ...

 

Grace frees me from having to measure up to the impossible standard, while at the same time, grace motivates me to run from sin and obey God...

 

Shame has paralyzed us. We are afraid to come out of hiding and admit we are flawed. It is ridiculous because we are all flawed. God knows it and we know it. Why are we pretending?

 

The space in which we feel stuck, lacking, sinful, broken, and in need, is the space in us that longs for God, longs for forgiveness.

 

Once we have tasted that grace, we are compelled to give our lives away because of it. Because God was that good to love us despite of our sin. He was that merciful to give everything to make us right with Him. Knowing that kind of grace changes everything. And we long to follow a God like that. A God who is offering life and peace to those who obey Him, the those who follow Him. He is even offering the means to obey and live a life for Him, through the Holy Spirit. Obedience turns into a response to the love of our God rather than a duty to perform for Him." -Jennie Allen

 

I guess I cannot describe this feeling and knowledge of grace, because it comes from the Holy Spirit living inside me. Usually I cannot describe most of what the Lord does inside of me and then it ends up pouring out of me through tears, because I am that thankful. I am sinful... no matter how big or small our sin is it is all awful. But this awful sin is not the death of me, because I have eternal life through Jesus Christ. No words can explain... but I have faith and trust in Him and his Word that his grace is efficient enough for whatever I lack.

 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

In Memory of Bernadette Izquierdo Morrow

My heart is sad.

My friend/ex sister-in-law, Bernadette lost her battle to cervical cancer yesterday morning. It was a year of battling this beast, but I am guessing her body had enough and couldn't fight it anymore.

What a loss! She had a huge heart and was always willing to help... a servants heart. Bernie loved animals! She would probably lay her own life down for an animal if it came down to it. Bernie always had dogs and fostered dogs. And some how always found a stray... or maybe the stray dog found her. She rescued so many dogs in the years I knew her that you would have thought she was a magnet that smelled like bacon! I never understood how she found all those stray dogs, but she did and she loved them so very much.

Bernadette was very giving and loving. She was always so very sweet to me and my girls. The gift of hospitality was another one of her strengths. She always made sure you were okay and if you needed anything.

Bernie was also fun! She loved a good party! She was always up for fun... maybe that comes from having 11 (or 12) brothers and sisters. Ha!

She will be severely missed, but I know she is in heaven and I look forward to the day when we will reunite.

Tomorrow is her funeral and we will be there saying our final goodbyes and supporting Bernie's family, who loved her so much. It makes me really think about this life and how I live it. I question myself... Am I living it to its fullest? Bernie was only 38... 7 years older than me. I see it as a privilege to live this life... so we better live it well.

 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

An Ugly Secret...

You wanna know an ugly secret of mine? I am selfish and self-centered.

This week this ugly nasty sin has been staring me down. I have had an awful selfish heart towards a few things that have come up. How dare anything come into my day and wreck it!

I had a quick awaking. Maybe you can say God had a come to Jesus meeting with me.

Who am I?

This ugly sin has a way to make it's presence known to me that I have the right to act the way I act and think the way I think. It tells me "You don't have to do that." or "You don't have to go there." or "You don't owe them anything." I start to believe this ugliness.

I cry out to God "I don't want to. This isn't fair. Haven't I done enough."

He quickly reminds me what he has called me to do. He reminds me that this new life is not about me, but about being like His Son more and more. But the most precious thing about Him reminding me... is His gentleness. He doesn't yell and throw fire balls at my head, but He gently reminds me of who He is. And as he gently reminds me and reveals my sin to me... I feel ashamed at how I acted and the fit I threw. All that Jesus did for me quickly disappeared when things didn't go my way. What is wrong with me? Why am I so weak?

As he gently reminded me of who He is... He told me he was answering my prayer. I prayer I pray constantly... to reveal the sin in my life that I am blinded to. He did that not as a vengeful God, but as a God who deeply cares for me. He knows I am seeking Him and pressing into Him... He knows my heart and what I desire... He is faithful as I request the uneasy... and He gently answers even though it will hurt my flesh.

He is my Father. He is a good Father... and I have no other Father like Him.
 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Hard Truth

You wanna know what is hard?

It is hard explaining to people why you did what you did simply because God told you to. It is hard telling people you have no explanation, but simply because He said to do it.

It is not normal for people to act in such a way... To simply do something because an invisible God told you to do something. It really sounds crazy as I type this out, but what else should I say.

I have been asked why I had to step back from the Bhutanese ministry and I have had to answer this question with the "hard" answer... "because my God said to". It makes no sense... I was in a ministry where God was... He was alive and moving there! And He removes me. Sounds crazy!

But... God doesn't do the norm. He doesn't go with the follow of the river, because once you go with the flow for long enough you get lost in it all and forget why you were there in the first place. He is not a God that goes the easy way out... He is a God who "pushes" us to the next great thing He has.

I felt so comfortable.

I tell people I have no explanation on why God pulled me away from the Bhutanese ministry, but I really know why. It's because I was stuck in the river current. I was floating along nicely and comfortably. Once I begin to feel comfortable I stop speaking of Him and his greatness! Ouch! This hurts to be truthful.

He sees me for who I am. He knows I have a great story and a heart for women. He knows me better than anyone. He sees me clearly and he knows the hurt. He knows the hurt that so many have and have been forgotten about... He has a great plan and now I fall in the unknown. I went from feeling comfortable and knowing what was next to walking blindly in to His wonderful Light. I am anxious and waiting... I see him moving and because of my obedience I am experiencing blessings.

I pray also because of my obedience in leaving Loaves & Fishes that He would abundantly bless the ministry and Margie. I know He has great things still to come and now I wait in excitement as it unfolds.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Leaping Blindly

Sitting here eating my new found love... Zucchini in pasta form with tomato sauce on top with a sprinkle Parmesan cheese. Ummm Yummm! 

As I was preparing this meal for lunch I was praying. Praying for a whole bunch of things and thinking about discussions I have had with other believers. Something hit me... All missionaries all over the world fully survive on prayer and prayers from other believers that have been put in their path/that have been made aware of their mission. They know they can't do this mission the Lord has given them without this life line to God. I have been asked many times by native missionaries "Are you praying for us?" or "Have you forgotten about us?" or the most common phrase "Please prayer for us." Many times I have been overwhelmed by this request... Most of the time I am caught of guard by a few of these questions, because yes I pray for you and no I have not forgotten about you, my dear friend. What these missionaries don't know is... If I have met you... Your face is forever etched/graphed into my mind. If I wanted to forget... I could never and I believe that is the Lord's intentions. He doesn't just place someone in my life for me to forget about them. Anyways... Got of subject... These missionaries ask these questions because they cannot survive without these prayers. They need them like their next breath.

It hit me like a brick wall... I think I am self sufficient. I think I can handle all the stuff in my life on my own. Ever since returning from India Father has brought more things to my attention than ever before. I am helpless without him! My life falls apart without him. I get why I am so often asked for prayers. My life is to be a constant mission to bring many closer to Him. But it is so hard in this self-sufficient world. A world of abundance. This part of the world takes my breath away in not a good way. I know evil is everywhere and that really isn't what I am talking about... I am talking about the stuff that fills this world and our minds. 

So I ask myself:
What are you putting your faith in? Are you using the life line? Are you asking God "What's next? Because my life is yours! You have given me breath for another day!"

I would love to be a missionary that moves away from this continent. I would love to be on the front lines... In battle. Oh wait... I am. I may not be off this continent, but their are millions of lost people. Now it begins... Taking the focus of me and what I can do, but focusing on my Heavenly Father and what he can do. I am praying and seeking him like never before... Asking for him to move in a way I have never visibly seen before. He has been preparing me and now I believe is the time. Leaping blindly!