Ants, lizards, rain, and water

lizardI never quite know what I will awaken to in the mornings. Some mornings it is ants crawling all over the kitchen floor, other mornings it is water that has leaked all over from the water purifier. Then there are days when lizards are found on the ceilings.

Then you have the rains, that can’t seem to get enough, going way past the rainy season. Striking when you least expect it and most often when you are far from prepared.

A month ago, these things added up to great frustration and doubled the stress.

But God’s grace.

I’m learning now that God’s grace is sufficient, even for ants, lizards, rain and water.

This doesn’t mean I like these things or relish in the trials. But God is there with me and He is there to help me as I rely upon Him.

I’m learning to laugh rather than cry at the daily hurdles. Because what good really does crying do?

Saturday for an example was a beautiful sunny day. Our family of five took our dirty clothes to the roof and spent hours washing them, rinsing the, wringing them out, and hanging them up to dry.

We finally finished when not five minutes later it began to rain and it rained and then rained some more.

I sat down and just laughed. I told Eric that obviously our clothes needed another rinse.

He looked at me kinda crazy and I said, well we can either laugh or cry.

So I would choose joy.

The joy of the Lord is my strength. This is my song, this is my story. And no one can take my joy from me.

But I can give it away. When I allow the stress, trials and problems to be my focus.

I must choose joy. I must lift my eyes to the hills and know that my help comes from the Lord (Ps. 121:1-2).

So whether the day brings rain, water, ants or lizards, I will choose joy. I will allow the Lord who doesn’t slumber to be my help.

I don’t know what your day looks like, what issues you must face.For some I know they are far worse than my own.

Yet, I encourage you to choose joy. To allow the Lord to be your help and His joy to be your strength.

Life here is complicated, life in general is complicated.

But no matter the complications that come our way.

Our God is with us and He is on our side!!

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Adjust, Adapt or Go Home

joy of the lordThis is  my new motto for life on the mission field.

I must adjust, adapt or I should definitely go home.

In my mind, I know how I expect things to turn out.

I have a misguided notion that my way of doing things is the right way.

But I am learning that this is not the way of life on the other side of the world.

My western mindset is different from the eastern mindset.

Though I’m in a hurry for things to take place, they are more laid back.

Though if I say I’m going to do something, I do it. And if I can’t do it, I apologize.

Yet, here it’s all about saving shame. So often you are told one thing, but then the opposite is done.

It is enough sometimes t make you want to pull out your hair.

However, I’m learning to just let it go.

Thus my new motto, adjust, adapt or go home.

I can’t expect things to happen as I think is best. I can’t expect the culture to change around my needs.

I can’t expect life to be easy and go as planned.

I can’t and I won’t, or I will not survive.

A great missionary beatitudes goes as follows,  “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not break”

I’m only learning how true this is.

High expectations will break you.

So when the repairman doesn’t show up like he said he would.

I can be frustrated or let it go.

When things don’t go as I think they should.

I can crumble (which I have) or let it go.

When someone says one thing and does another.

It is best to just  let it go.

I think this is a vital lesson every missionary has to learn and I’m still learning.

This life, it is not about me or about my comfort or happiness.

This life, is about dying daily to myself and allowing the joy of the Lord to be my strength.

Things will go wrong, bad days will come, needs will go unmet.

But God is on His throne and He is good.

I can rejoice in Him and have joy.

On the plane ride on the way over here, we sat by and talked with another missionary couple to Thailand.

I asked her what is your one piece of advice.

She said and I quote, “The joy of the Lord must be your strength.”

I’m finding out just how right she was.

Because no matter how bad it gets, no one can take my joy.

For it comes from the Lord.

So I will adjust and I will adapt. I will not go home.

Because the Lord has called me here to be His hands and His feet.

And though it can be hard, He is with me.

Strengthening me and helping me, giving me great joy.

But only when I take my eyes off the situation at hand and place them upon Him.

 

When saying yes, leads you out of your comfort zone

outside the campIt is actually pretty comical to think I am on the other side of the world. Yet, here I sit sipping hot chocolate and eating peanut butter off a spoon. Inside this home, much is normal, much is the daily mundane. Feeding the family, cleaning the house, washing the dishes and clothes.

Yet, as soon as I leave this house, a whole new, uncomfortable, world awaits me. Filled with barking dogs, dusty roads, ringing bells and honking vehicles. Nothing about the outside is normal. As a Christian, I am in the minority. As a foreigner I am misunderstood and often taken advantage of.

Yet regardless of where I am, in the safety of my home or in the uncomfortable outside, I am still a daughter of the King. I am my beloveds and He is mine… what a relief!

It would be and is tempting for most of us to stay inside where it is safe and it is comfortable. Easy for us to shut out the things, people, places that cause us discomfort.

Today, I was forced to remain home, as I had to await the repairman. And this is nice, this is easy. But as followers of Jesus, this is not what we have been called to.

Jesus Himself left Heaven and all of its glory to come to earth. And not just so He could live, but so that He could daily die to Himself and eventually physically die in our place.

See, us coming to the other side of the world wasn’t easy. Yet if all we do is come and live, we have missed it. Many fall into this trap. They come and stay where it is safe. They flock together with others like them. And I get this. Yesterday I saw another American and I longed to go and just talk with her. And this is needed, but can not be all.

For we have not been called to just come live abroad, we have been called here to daily die to ourselves. Forcing ourselves to get out of the comfy, safe, spots and get into the uncomfortable. Jesus has called each of us to follow Him, He has called us all to deny ourselves and to daily take up our cross.

This means different things for different people. Yet despite our place, despite our situation. He has called us to go beyond ourselves.

Today I get to stay in the safe and comfy as I wait for the repairman. But after he leaves, I will force myself to go outside. To venture down the dusty roads in search of household items. I will greet the locals as I walk and smile. Praying that as I go they will see Christ living in me. I will look for opportunities to point others to the one True God. Sure I may be charged two times the price, I may be misunderstood and I may not enjoy going  out the gate. But I will go by His grace and through His strength.

This is the way we each must follow. Relying not upon ourselves but upon Him. Dying to ourselves, our wants and out needs, that He might live in and through us.

My prayer as of late has been more of You, Jesus and less of me. I’m realizing this is not an easy ordeal. Because there is room only for one master. It will be Jesus or it will be me. The same is true for you, we must die, so that Christ can live.

Let us then let go of the comfortable and follow our Master wherever He leads.

What to do when your discouraged

discouragedSince our move to the other side of the world, there have been the good days and the not so good days.

There have been days when things have gone right and other days when nothing has gone right.

Included have been days when I have felt discouraged and wondered if it was worth it.

BUT GOD…

God always has a way of speaking to my heart just what I need to hear.

Last night I was reading in the Ezra.  The people are rebuilding the temple. Things seem to be going well, but then some naysayers come along and they “set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building. (Ezra 4:4) In fact the Bible goes on to say that they hired people to work against them and to mess up the plans and work they were doing. And the sad thing is that the Bible says, “Thus the work on the house of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill (Ezra 4:24)

The naysayers won, they set out to discourage the people, to make them afraid and ultimately to make them quit the work. And that is exactly what happened.

As I read this, I thought isn’t that just like the enemy.

He sets out to discourage God’s servants. Filling our minds with lies, doubt, and fear. And all along, his greatest desire is to get us to quit on God.

How often I fall into this trap. Allowing my emotions to rule.

BUT GOD…

God wasn’t done, He also had a word to say.

For we find out in Haggai 2, that God’s plan for the temple was its completion.

His message to the people was, “Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord, and work. For I am with you, declares the Lord Almighty…… Do not fear! (Haggai 2:4-5)

And the Lord spoke to my heart, saying, “Be strong, do what I have called you to and don’t be afraid, because I am with you!”

We must listen not to the enemy’s lies, but to the voice of truth.

Satan says quit. Satan discourages and lies. He fills our hearts with fear and makes us want to give up.

But God says,

BE STRONG, DO THE WORK I HAVE CALLED YOU TO, DO NOT BE AFRAID, FOR I AM WITH YOU!!

Where are you today? Are you being led by emotions or by the Spirit?

Are you discouraged with where God has you, do you want to quit?

I encourage you to dig deep into the Word of God and allow Him to speak to you.

I admonish you to listen as He says, be strong and fear not.

For He is with you, just as He is with me.

Saved to be sent….

Mathew 28You have to love podcast, and all the benefits of modern technology.

I just finished listening to a sermon from Redeemer Church of Dubai, by Pastor Furman.

A message that fed me spiritually and encouraged my heart.

The message was based on Math. 28:18-20, the Great Commission.

He began by focusing on just the first few words, words we read over so quickly and fail to comprehend.

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ALL AUTHORITY has been given to ME in heaven and on earth.”

I was reminded of a truth that means so much especially now.

That Jesus has all authority over ALL nations, ALL circumstances and ALL people…. me and my family included.

See the reality is, no matter where we go, no matter where God calls, no matter what the circumstance or situation, Jesus is in complete control. He has ALL authority!!

And because He has all authority, we can rest in Him.

When things don’t go our way, when circumstances change, when life happens, it does not take Jesus by surprise… He knows and He is at work even then. Stretching us and seeking to make us like Himself.

But because He has all authority, it is then our privilege to join Him in His work, being His hand and His feet.

We need not fear, for He is in control.

What comfort I have in knowing that the God who tells the oceans where to stop. The God who knows the stars by name and the number of hairs on my head.

He is in control.

Though the world may seem to be falling apart. Though it may appear that the enemy is winning. Though there are wars and rumors of wars, Jesus is in control.

He has all authority, all!

So as we move about this land the Lord has called us to. As we see the oppression and how the enemy has blinded the eyes of the people. It is easy to feel defeat. Easy to wonder how He can possibly use us.  Easy to give up hope.

Yet, we have the victory, because Jesus is in control.

We are saved to be sent…. this is our mission!

Our mission is to go, to make disciples, to baptize, to teach.

Praying as the Apostle Paul, that God would give us open doors and boldness to share.

Remembering that as we go, Jesus goes with us.

For He has promised, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age!”

 

The Harsh Reality of Culture Shock

Our Mission to the Himalayas and Beyond

culture shockI have always heard of culture shock. I have studied it and read about it. But the harsh reality of experiencing it is different.

We have now been in Nepal for one week. Yet, it feels more like a month. Nothing about life here is normal. In fact, everything seems backwards. From driving on the opposite side of the road, with the steering wheel on the left to the complications of daily life.

The stress of life on the mission field combined with culture shock can lead to many a melt down. In fact, today, I had two. One while in the pots and pan aisle at the store and once while out buying furniture. I know this seems crazy..but if you had, had my day you would understand.

I’m having to learn to let go. Let go of my mindset of how things should be. Let go of my…

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