Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Am I Peter?

Am I Peter?
I see the Lord at work where we are going; much like Peter saw Jesus walking on water. It looks impossible. It looks scary. It looks exciting. 

Peter wants to be there, to experience it firsthand.

I can almost picture it. On the boat, the disciples row and fight to keep afloat in the midst of a powerful storm. They are exhausted and the chaos around them may prove to be their demise.  They rock to and fro, on the verge of giving up hope, when someone shouts, “What’s that?!”

They all turn their attention to the shout and in the distance, just as a wave crests, they see it. “A ghost!” shouts another disciple. They tremble.

“Have courage! It’s me. Don’t be afraid,” comes the voice they all know, the voice of the One they follow. Hope.

Peter’s hearts is racing with adrenaline and unexpectedly he shouts, “If it’s You, command me to come to You on the water.” The other disciples stare at him in disbelief. It’s 3am and Peter has lost his mind.

Without hesitation, Jesus utters one simple word, “Come.”

Immediately, Peter abandons all and climbs out of the beaten boat, still thrashing in the waves. The disciples watch in wonder as Peter is suspended on the surface of the water, Jesus just a few steps away.

He walks on the water, his mouth open in amazement. He sees Jesus and a smile forms.

Then it hits him: I’m walking on water in the middle of a storm. I’m walking on water. In the middle of a storm. His heart races, his eyes dart back and forth, and his feet begin to sink. The waves seem higher than before, the wind stronger. “Lord, save me!” he yells above the howl of the wind.

 Jesus, ever faithful, immediately reaches out His hand and takes hold of him.

“You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

The same one with the faith to step out of the boat is deemed the one of little faith.

The words must have echoed in Peter’s heart in the days, weeks, and years thereafter.

What would have happened if he had just believed? No doubt, just pure faith.

There is a war in the Jung|e. It’s a battle that’s been raging in the hearts and lives of the natives for centuries. And Jesus is there, doing the impossible.  Walking on the water. And here, safe in the boat, I beg Him to let us walk with Him. Our prayer echoes Peter’s, “Command us to come out of the boat.”

And He does.

So we begin our descent from the safety of our boat.

And the question lingers: When my feet hit the water, will I have the faith? Or will I, like Peter, begin to sink?

When the waves are high and the wind is strong and the battle rages and the days are long, will I remain firmly planted on the water my Jesus has empowered me to walk on?

Or will I hear the words, “Why did you doubt?”

“May I be found full of faith,” my heart prays, as my feet touch the water.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Actually praying...

God has been working in my heart lately about praying all throughout the day for people as they come to mind, not just at night before I go to bed. I think that's what Paul meant when he said, "Pray without ceasing." (1 Thessalonians 5.17) Why is it so hard sometimes to constantly be in communication with our Father??

There are some missionaries that we are friends with or support that I think of often, but I came up with an idea about how to keep on top of praying for a lot of different missionaries, too.

Also, we recently started sponsoring a sweet little Ugandan girl named Maimuna and wanted a way to keep her on our minds and hearts regularly.

So, here's what I did...

I took a bulletin board that we had already and put Maimuna's picture on it and a section for the "Missionary of the Week", using construction paper for a simple background. At the bottom I strung a piece of paracord (ribbon would work, too) and used clothes pins to attach the picture that Maimuna drew for us as well as some photos a missionary friend in the Dominican Republic recently sent us. I also hole-punched and strung up all the missionary prayer cards that we have and pinned them in the corner so that we can change them out and dedicate an entire week of praying for them specifically.

It was super simple, took about an hour to do, and since I already had all the materials around the house, it was free! We're going to put it in our kitchen so we see it often and can pray constantly for them.

If you don't have a "system" set up for praying for missionaries, this is a good way to do it! Take that pile of prayer cards you've collected and make good use of them. If you're a creative person (which I'm not) you can even make yours look a lot prettier than mine and give me some pointers ;)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

It's Official!

The helicopter training is complete and he's a certified commercial HELICOPTER pilot!

Thank you for praying, giving, and encouraging to make this a reality!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Not Yet

A sweet friend of mine and I were sitting by the sandbox watching our boys throw sand at one another this morning, talking about life and kids and so on.

She asked me, "So, how are you feeling about everything--your international move and all that is going on?"

With a sigh I replied, "I'm so ready to just be there."

I think I've reached a point where I'm so burdened by the need of the region that we are going to and I feel so out of place here in the States that I just want to go. I want to be in the heat and humidity. I want to eat beans and rice and fish. I want to settle down a bit and let Elliott make friends with the little Indian kids. I want to be far, far away from some of the silliness of this life here, all the things that Satan would try to use to distract us from what really matters--the glory of God among the nations.

But God says, "Not yet."

And He says that for a reason. He says it for a reason I don't fully understand, but I trust Him.

I trust Him because I can look back over the last three years of our life and see how He's shaped us and grown us. How He's taught us and molded us just a little more into His image.

And we still have a long way to go.

Every day we pray for wisdom and humility. For strength and perseverance. To be just a little more like Him.

So, He hears our prayer and compassionately says "Not yet" as He molds us and makes us into the image of His Son.

And it's tiring but worth it because I know one day soon we will be in the Jungle.

And we'll be tired there too... but it'll be worth it.

God, I Need You

God, I need you today.

I need you because I can't be the mom or wife I need to be.

I need you because I worry about what people are thinking and saying.

I need you because I seem to always forget that I should ask you for help before trying to take it on myself.

I need you because some days I'm scared of the calling you've given us and some days I'm afraid you picked the wrong person.

I need you because I'm tired.

I need you because people let me down. I need you because I let people down.

I need you because sometimes religion seems safer--easier--than faith.

I need you because the old me is still here, fighting for my energy and draining me in the process.

I need you because this world is so broken that sometimes it overwhelms me to the point I want to just give up.

And I thank you today.

Thank you that you are a good God.

That you have freed me from the chains of religion and doubt and fear and faithlessness and anger and bitterness and the cares of this world.

Thank you that I am free to be who you created me to be. Thank you that I have a hope and a future that is beautiful because of who You are and not because of who I am.

Thank you that I am your child and that you have redeemed my soul and that I can be a slave to you and not myself.

Thank you that when I feel overwhelmed I can dig deep into your Word and by the time I'm done reading my heart and soul are screaming: "Thank you that I am FREE!"

God, you are so good.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Some Questions

When strangers find out you are going to live in the middle of nowhere, you start to get a lot of questions (often accompanied by strange looks).

There are the typical ones like, "Where will you live?" and , "How long will you be there?" and of course, "Aren't you afraid??"

But today I got a couple I don't think I've ever gotten before.

I was at the playground with Elliott watching him run up to the top of the biggest structure and run just as fast back down, over and over again. "Wear yourself out, my sweet boy," I was thinking to myself with visions of naptime dancing in my head.

A lady was there with her granddaughter and we started to talk. The conversation inevitably led to where we were from and why we were here in NC. I told the abbreviated version of our story and when I was done the lady looked at me with all sincerity and said, "When do you have to go?"

The question struck me as funny. "When do I have to go?" I thought to myself.

A little bit later a man who had overheard our conversation came over and had about 100 questions of his own. I don't mind in the least because it's a great opportunity to share the real motive for our efforts--Christ. So as I was watching Elliott splash in a mud puddle that had suddenly captured his attention, despite the array of slides and swings he was surrounded by, I answered question after question before I was hit with another new one.

"So, who pays the bills for you guys?"

I couldn't help but laugh a little bit at his straight-forward approach, but told him that we had some very generous people and churches who gave to "pay the bills".

Those two questions have stuck in my mind this evening as I think about what lies ahead and what has come to pass in our lives. I share our testimony so often that I think I forget sometimes that God is so incredible that He is diligently directing our steps each and every day, down to the smallest detail, and in turn preparing us for the next day.

The truth is we don't have to go to the Jung|e. We want to because we have a Savior who is worthy.
The truth is no one has to "pay our bills" so we can go. They want to because we have a Savior who is worthy.

Here are some things that I know, but I can only explain by the fact that God is the one doing this, not us:
  • Our largest donor to date is someone I have never even met in person, but rather "by chance" on a Facebook fanpage.
  • Richard has nearly $100,000 worth of aviation training that we don't owe a single penny on.
  • We have put over 100K miles on our car in just over four years, flown on dozens of flights, visited nearly 20 states and several countries and God has always--ALWAYS--provided for car repairs, plane tickets, meals, and lodging. We've never been stranded or had to go hungry or without a place to sleep.
  • We have literally hundreds of people who give to us every month be it through personal giving or through the local church so that we can not just live in Brazil, but eat every day, afford to put gas in our car, and be able to keep the lights on.
  • We have had the privilege to meet some of the most amazingly humble servants of God as we've made this journey to the field and God in His divine sovereignty has placed them in our lives always at just the right time to challenge us, encourage us, pick us up, rejoice with us, cry with us, laugh with us, and labor with us.
And the list goes on. But why does any of this matter? Why do I sit here typing in amazement as I think back over what God has done in our lives?

Because of who He is. Because He is so big and so incredibly amazing that I honestly say that it's not a "we have to go", it's a "we want to go!" We want to tell these people that there is hope and His name is Jesus.

That it's a beautiful hope.

And when I think of how sovereign He is, I can't help but be excited to think of what He's up to behind the scenes. All we can do is take inventory of the past... and it's overflowing with miracles! We don't know what tomorrow holds but we do know this: He is a good God and in the end, He will be glorified through trials and tribulations and through rejoicing and victory.

My earnest prayer is that those of you who give and pray and encourage us in this journey in which we are just the hands and feet, you do so with that in mind. That we serve an indescribable God who makes this life so much more exciting that we could even dream of and it's all for His glory and for His children's joy.

So, thank you for following along with us. Thank you for praying. Thank you for giving. But most of all, thank you for loving our Savior.

That's what this is all about.

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