Friday, October 14, 2016

"Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure, by the cross are sanctified."

What if it takes more faith to believe God will see you through your difficult spot, than it does to believe that He will remove it? Some of what I write in this post is a reiteration of what was shared at our IGo ladies meeting this week. It spoke right into some of  the things I'd read, heard, and been thinking about lately.

Sometimes we think that having enough faith will make something happen. Like faith is the magic potion, just gotta have enough of it.

Perhaps coughing up enough faith to get us a one time deliverance is easier than believing day by day, step by step, that He is faithful to see us through. More faithful than our fickle feelings. More faithful than we can see with our human eyes.

Just maybe the good things He has for us don't include deliverance from health issues or a strained relationship or a financial crisis. Maybe the path is through this, not away from it.

I think we often get this idea in our heads about what we think His will is. And somehow, if we don't have enough faith, then He can't complete His will? Huh? Isn't that reducing God's power to the size of our faith?

Jesus asked the Father to "Remove this cup from me." God could have. He could have even figured out a different way. But He didn't because death on the cross was the most perfect and beautiful way--even in all of its ugliness.

And God didn't remove Paul's thorn in the flesh either.

Can God heal us, or deliver us? Absolutely. Jesus did lots of healing in the New Testament. But if He chooses not to heal you, do you still believe that He is good? Can you fathom the fact that maybe in His love for you He is allowing this situation?

We often define a blessing as a good thing: healing, success, positive answers to prayer. Many circles talk about the need to "claim promises" in order to unlock these blessings. Some will even refuse to acknowledge doubts for fear of contaminating the word of faith they are speaking. But perhaps a too-narrow definition of "blessing" is contaminating our view of faith.

I'm still thinking this all through, but I fear that this whole idea of naming and claiming things puts redemption in a box. And redemption is something that I get excited about. I watch for it.

Of course our world is fallen. But we sure think we know how to fix it sometimes. Shame on us! That's the work of Jesus. Let His will be done for our good and his ultimate glory.

"...that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death..." And how can I share in His sufferings if I always demand He removes suffering from me?

And that's the other thing. Psalm 106:15 "And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul." Is that what we're after? "

Seriously. There are more New Testament promises to indicate physical hardship and trial in the last days than there are indicating ease. But the promises of His presence and our being blessed as we endure are there over and over. Go check it out for yourself.

The amazing thing about God is that He can take the broken and painful, and in the end bring something beautiful and amazing out of it--something that could not even have been, had the painful situation never come to pass.

"What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life, is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy?"

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Wagon Ride

I asked my man this question this morning: "Where is the fine line between knowing what you can handle and (responsibly) saying "no" to situations and opportunities that you know would stretch you beyond your limits, and being willing to hold your life with open hands and taking on really hard and seemingly impossible stuff and clinging to His grace, knowing it's sufficient. How do you know when to say "no" versus when to say, "I am being asked to do the impossible and I have no clue how to do it but God will have to be enough."

I think another way of asking this question is, "Is 'no' a responsible answer or is it the response of a soul that lacks faith...and how do I know the difference?"

I think God can use whatever decisions we make for His glory and His will isn't such a big puzzling thing to find. Might take some waiting, but God is more gracious than to tell us what He wants of us in riddles.

I do know that the grace of God is bigger than our answers to Him and when He desires something of us, He gently steers us in the right direction until we are there. I mean, not only does He direct our footsteps, He also guides our hearts until they are in tune with His will and desires.

When I was 15 years old, Dru was not cool. (Mildly put.) He was headed to the mission field and who knew what else...he was a tad um, weird.

I'm nearly 30. I married Dru. I have four kids. I've lived in Thailand for eight years. I don't like change, the city, overt adventure, or coming out of my comfort zone in general, but here I am.

I smiled to myself as I thought about this today. God has a way of putting you where He wants us, not only in our circumstances but in our hearts. Aren't we glad?

So I tell myself again today, "It's time to get on the wagon and hang on tight. Married to the man I am and having the God I do, there is no telling where we'll end up. Might as well figure out how to enjoy the adventure."

Meanwhile, I'm realizing that there is some terror in my heart about this next year. Quietly moving to Hat Yai without that interim step in the States would be a whole lot easier and safer feeling.

So as I'm sitting on this wagon, as it hurtles down the hill, I'm realizing that it's both thrilling and terrifying at the same time. But even as I enjoy this ride, I shall be periodically screaming at the top of my lungs nibbling my fingernails nervously and pensively. I'm wondering if we'll stop smoothly, with a few bumps, or just crash--leaving the wagon in shambles. I'm trusting that in the worst case scenario, God knows how to fix wagons--even when they're in splinters. He put me on this wagon, I'll trust Him for the ride.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Jumbled Thought Fragments

I keep trying to blog. Something profound and expressing all of my jumbled thoughts in a concise manner. But it's not coming out right--or not coming out at all. It's a combination of mommy brain and everything that's going on in our lives right now. Too much data on a slow computer, if you know what I mean.

I am thinking about how in the world I ended up with coffee shop going, city kids. Kids who don't know where carrots come from and what a whole sky full of dazzling stars on a dark night looks like. 

Thinking about communicating with my husband--I mean, we are communicating. But I'm processing the process. Because people change and life goes on and you forget the rules and have to review them. And make some new ones as our vulnerabilities shift. 

Thinking about having two babies right now. One with big serious eyes that are used for communicating with me because talking just ain't happening with words much yet. The other baby smiles even giggles some already. There isn't much serious about him except his need for food and more food--in case you couldn't tell by looking. The two of them rack up quite the diaper bill. I counted the other day--I changed eleven pampers.

Thinking about dreams and what to do with them. And wondering if they really are free after all. Depends on how you hold them, I guess.

I'm thinking about all of my earthly belongings and wondering which ones to store, which ones to take back to the States, which ones to pitch. Wondering how vulnerable I'm going to let myself be in the process. 

Thinking about Melinda coming in two weeks and all of the visiting and trotting around the city we're going to do. And wondering if we'll be able to stay up late and visit into the wee hours or not.

I'm thinking about my Mom and Dad coming next month for the first time. I'm still pinching myself to see if that's real. 

I'm smiling right now because my black board says, "Impossible is nothing for God". I went to a coffee shop and they had, "Impossible is Nothing" on the wall in black lettering. It made me think about it in a different way. So I came home and wrote it on the black board. Dru says it's bad English. It messes with his mind. Which makes me giggle gleefully. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Pictures and Prayer Requests

The Lord really gave us some answers and a lot of peace when we were in Hot Yai a week ago. We are so thankful! Yet, we still have a few more answers we’re looking for. One of the things we’re working through right now is how long should we spend in the States, knowing we need to spend some time there. So we’re in communication with our home church on this issue now. Meanwhile, it’s hard to leave people here.


Mae Wahn is really struggling with letting us go for a long period of time. The idea of moving to Hot Yai was hard enough to get used to. She knows she can handle six months of us being away—but more than that? We are her family, this is hard, especially with her mom passing away this year. After telling her the other night that we could spend a couple years in the States, she seemed to get sad and quiet for the rest of our time together.


I told Mae Wahn that my prayer is that she would feel peace in her heart and direction in her own heart as to what we’re supposed to do. So that when we come to a decision, she could be at peace and know that this is right for us. I’m asking that you who pray for us, could pray for this for Mae Wahn too. Pray for her to be comforted and have peace—whatever God leads us to do.

We really don’t know how our next two years or more are going to play out. Please, pray for us, and our brotherhood back in the States, durring this decision process.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Let's play a table game...

Actually, as a general rule, I'm not much into table games. So I'm making one up that I think I'll enjoy much more. Here is my table. I'll tell you about it. Then you tell me about yours.

First off, the flowers are from my man because today is Thai Mother's Day. He also brought pizza home for supper.

The napkins I've collected over the years. I like cloth napkins. The silver napkin rings I found at a second hand store. Same as two of the cloth napkins and the bird cage.

The bird cage I've been threatening to paint white ever since I bought it but haven't done so yet.

Inside the bird cage are dried flowers from my mothers garden far far away in America. I have a collection of them, but am running out. They make me all happy and nostalgic. It's my mom who taught me about pretty tables. Go on over the Stone House Scribblings and you won't browse for long before you see one of hers.

The little yellow bird is from my sister Francis. I treasure it. Francis is one of my biggest prayer warriors as well.

The candle I bought at Hobby Lobby last time I was in the States.

My cousin Lorinda sent the JOY wall decor over with Joelle. For now it's on my table. Some days joy is a decision, and that's the truth! Thank you Lorinda. One day, if I ever get a chance I would love to sit down and have a lovely visit with you and pick your brain about motherhood, marriage, and life in general. You once wrote me a lovely email in response a blog I'd written. It meant a lot to me and I still remember how it spoke wisdom to me in such a good way. Thank you.

Last but not least is the little dish of sea shells and star fish. It was found on the beach last Sunday. A rain storm was whipping into Naratiwat that evening but I said I had to put my feet in the water. So they let me. Dru and Rennie came too, but ran for cover when the rain started coming. Dru had told me to collect some shells for the children. The sand stung my skin as the wind whipped it up from the beach. The rain started falling. I realized I really would have to retreat to the truck. But I still needed the shells for Jube and Havilah. I was so tickled and happy to find those three star fish as well. I could have stood on that beach and just let the rain soak me through and the sand sting my face and arms until it was over. Someday I will. I'll stand in the warm driving rain on the ocean beach while the sand zings about and the waves bring in treasures of shells and starfish--and know that God is big and I'm in his care. Because that's what I felt that day on the beach. I left very reluctantly.

So what are the stories on your table?

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Psalm 3:3,4


“But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill.”


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

About Grace I Guess

I don’t know how to start this blog post. I don’t know how vulnerable I IMG_2331want to be. I am vulnerable right now. Not overly stable. But I know it, and so does my man, so we’re dealing with it alright I guess.
Dealing with making a huge life decision while I battle through my fears, insecurities, and selfishnesses. I’m hoping that my feeling incredibly weak of brain and soul  and very dependent on the grace of God, is exactly where I’m supposed to be in this process. I wonder if this weakness I feel is a good thing or not. I mean, should Christians feel this way all the time—I mean, I don’t always feel like I have that sound mind I’m supposed to as a Christian. But I do battle the fear…lack the love…and the power… So while I feel pretty vulnerable, I realize I’m thrown smack into the mercy and grace of God because there’s nothing left.
I do realize that I can’t continue like this forever. I’m not sure if how I’m feeling is Biblical or not but thankfully God is bigger than my feelings.  I read Romans 8 the other night and it said that all of this is for a purpose and that I’m in good hands. My part is to walk in the Spirit and keep on. I was amazed at how many ways it says in that chapter that God has this thing, this “thing”, being me.
And us. My family. I don’t like to say it, but I was questioning it. I wondered what God was doing with us these past two years and why He didn’t give us clearer direction in the past. Where was He and did He really care about us in a personal way? Could I depend on Him for our future?My man said yes, and reminded me how God was there for us in the past two years and all the blessings He gave.
He did bless us. I can cry on two counts simultaneously. One, that it did feel so wandering and depressing for us. Two, that He did hand me personally so many good good things to see me through. There were times that Dru was pounding his head against a proverbial wall as he struggled through  work, relationship, and discipleship issues, and depression. There were feelings of failure for both of us. Weakness. Yet Hannah has been here to help us twice in the past two  years over the times that God blessed us with baby boys. Dru has been able to help support us with his job. Adam came to visit. Bob and Yai were baptized. Amy was here once. I got to go visit the States once. Dru’s teaching at School of Promise was a fulfilling and happy thing for him. God was good to us.
I shall now make a bold statement: I think that many young couples and newly weds move to the mission field—not because they are super spiritual—but because they are rather more naïve. This is not in anyway to minimize their calling. It is to say that it is very IMG_2279hard to count the cost when you have no idea what the price tag is. I’m pretty sure God does this on purpose sometimes, fully aware that He’s going to have to cover the difference with His grace. Did I know when I married Dru that I would be moving far, far away from everything I knew and held dear, other than him? Yes. Would I have prayed harder, and wrestled more with it, had I known all of the ramifications? Absolutely. However, the circumstances that precluded my courtship with Dru left me sure, without a doubt, that it was His will for me to marry that man. That can not be shaken in my mind, and for that I have been thankful many times. So my calling here is sure, but I came naïvely.
What does that have to do with  where we are at now? Well, for me the question is, now that I’m not naïve anymore, am I still willing to stay? Still willing to be where my IMG_2328man feels called? Still willing to find my calling along side of  his? Because now we’re at a crossroads and there are about three different options up in the air. The easy option for me does not seem easy for him, and visa versa.
But by the grace of God, I’ve come a ways from a month ago. We’re visiting Hot Yai this weekend to see what there is to see down there. Back to Hang Dong is another option. Then there is also Hayward. Truly, what we want most of all is peace and very clear direction as to the will of God for our family.