Walking in Step with the Lord

Today after a year of living in Nepal, I finally went hiking. It always makes me laugh when friends back home think I mhiking nepalust have climbed Mt. Everest, because I live in Nepal. When the truth is, Mt. Everest is nowhere near where I live, nor could I climb it, even if it were… because I would seriously die first :-).

But today, I climbed five kilometers up a mountain. It took us a good two hours to get to the top, and included leeches attaching themselves to my feet. Then a little less than an hour to get back down. Somehow going down is always easier.

On the way up however, it seemed like there was no end. We climbed up and up. The stairs got steeper and steeper, and twisted their way up the mountain. If I looked ahead and saw how steep it was, how many more stairs it would take. If I looked too far ahead, I got discouraged. If I looked behind me, I would get light-headed as I realized how high we were (since I don’t like heights). So instead I looked right in front of me. Step by step I took, until finally we had arrived to the top.

As I was climbing and thinking on this, I was reminded of the story of Joshua. Joshua had been leading the Israelites, and the Lord had come and told him, that it was almost time to enter into the promised land. He told Joshua to stay close, not to get ahead, and not to get behind.

So often in our Christian journeys we want God to show us what He has planned three months from now, we want to know what next year will hold. Other times, we can’t seem to let go of our past, and have trouble living in the present. When just as the Israelites, we must be walking step by step with the Lord. Not getting ahead of what He has planned, nor getting too far behind.

I have learned in my own Christian walk, that God doesn’t usually let us in on what the tomorrows hold. He only shows us what we need to know for today.

If we look ahead and try to figure our the path the Lord will lead, we will get discouraged, just as I got discouraged as I looked ahead today. If we look behind, we reminisce on what once was, and we miss right now.

God’s plan for you is to live this day for His glory. His will for you is to be filled with His Spirit, to give thanks in all circumstances, to pray without ceasing.

Years ago, we arrived back in the US from Korea, and moved in with my family. If I looked ahead and tried to figure life out, I was a wreck. But, if I lived that day, and focused on it… I was good.

The same if true for now. The truth is, none of us know what our tomorrows will hold. Yet, we do know who holds these days in His hand.

The truth is, we can plan, we can scheme, we can try to figure things out… but most likely it will change. Because, we don’t see the whole picture. We dont’ see what God sees.

Let us then, draw near to God, staying close to Him, allowing the Lord to lead us each day.

And as we do, we will begin to see as He see’s. We will recognize what He desires.

No mater where you are in life right now… God is there with you.

He is leading you, He is guiding you, sometimes He is carrying you.

Yet, you never walk alone.

And you can trust Him with tomorrow.

You can trust that in His perfect way, His perfect time, He will show you your next step.

Until then, stay close to the Lord.

So you don’t miss out on a thing.

The Father truly does know best!

Moving Forward, Post Earthquake

nepal earthquakeIt has been 2 days since the second quake rocked Nepal. Which has meant two more nights sleeping outside, two more days of waiting to see if another large aftershock would come.

We had just gotten ready to resume life as “normal”,when once again the pause button was pushed on life here in Kathmandu. Thankfully, our family was together this time, and the Lord once more protected us.

Yesterday it seemed people were at a loss with what to do, whether to go to work or stay close to home.

And to be honest my nerves were just about shot, and I caught myself responding in anger and frustration more than in kindness and love.

The what if’s are difficult. Each time I venture upstairs, I wonder what if another strikes. Each time the kids want to get something from their room, I think what if….

These are deadly words to dwell upon, “If only” and “what if”.

Yet, the reality is it is hard to move forward. Hard to let go of fear.

It seems that these earthquakes have not only shook the nation of Nepal. They have also shaken the faith of many, and shown the cracks in my own relationship with the Lord.

Recently I read of a man who is a believer, yet who is wondering where God is, in all of this.

I think many feel this way.

Personally, it is the cracks God has used the earthquakes to show me.

Cracks in my walk with Him, cracks in my relationship with my husband and kids.

Yet, He has also used the earthquakes to show me He is bigger. That He is stronger.

I have learned that He is ever faithful, as He has twice now protected our family and our home.

So how do we live “post earthquake,” here in Nepal.

I’m learning that it means taking baby steps each day. Seeking to let go of fear and trust that God is bigger.

To be honest after the second one hit, my first thought was, “Lord, I want to go home, enough of this!”

Yet, as I read Isaiah 6:8 today in my quiet time, I was reminded of my prayer before coming here.

“Here I am, send me!(Is. 6:8)”

I know that though it is difficult, though it is frightening, though it is just hard to be here right now.

That God has us here for such a time as this.

He knew when we came, this would happen.

And all I can do now is hold fast to Him and rest in Him. Clinging to Him for His perfect peace, and trusting that the same God who has now delivered us twice from major earthquakes, will deliver us in the days ahead.

Blessings from Nepal

“The Lord will give strength to His people;

the Lord will bless His people with peace.” Psalm 30: 11

When People Let You Down….

god never failsHas someone ever let you down? I mean you thought highly of this person and then something happens and your left feeling the blow?

The truth is everyone eventually lets you down, given enough time.

Even the best of people, those who love you the most, let you down.

Though our intention is usually not to let others down, we all fall into this at times. Because we are human.

As I continued my reading of 2 Corinthians 1, I realized that the Corinthian church felt Paul had let them down.

Paul, the church leader, the one who began their church, had let them down, surely not?!

Though he had intended to visit them in Corinth, his plans had been changed. And they were left wondering if his words were true, could they trust him?

Often people let us down unintentionally. Life just happens and they are left unable to do what they said they’d do. Other times people just forget, and fail to follow through. Occasionally, we are let down intentionally.

As I read this, I thought of the many times I have let down those I love. I thought of the times those I love have let me down. And I’m left feeling bad either way.

Yet, as I read, I was reminded that there is one who will never let us down. One who is always faithful, one who’s yes is always yes. One who fulfills each and every promise He makes….. The Lord God Almighty!

Paul too reminds the Corinthians of this truth when he says, “For as many as may be the promises of God in Him, they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us (II Corinthians 1:20).”

I love the old hymn, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, for it speaks of the mercies of the Lord, and the fact that He is always faithful. No matter what.

The reality is, people will let us down, family and friends will disappoint us. Loved ones will hurt us.

But there is One who sticketh closer than a brother. One who despite their day, despite their business, will never ever fail us.

Paul ends chapter one by reminding the Corinthians, that it is by faith that they are standing firm!

Reminding them, that it is their faith in Christ, and the faithfulness of God that keeps them and enables them to live for the Lord.

He reminds them that they are not dependent upon him, nor is their faith. Demonstrating to them, their utter dependence must be upon the Lord.

Often times, we mistakenly place our faith in others, we depend a bit too much on our loved ones.

And eventually, we will suffer a let down.

Why? Because God never intended our faith or dependence be placed upon others. He intends that it be fully placed upon Him.

So when others let you down, and they will.

When people hurt you, and they will.

When loved ones fail you, and they will.

Remember that there is One who never will.

There is One who always keeps His promises. One who we can fully and completely depend upon.

His name is Jesus!

Let us then stand firm in our walk with Him, not because of our pastor, not because of our Bible study teacher.

But because our faith has been placed completely upon Him.

 

 

Letting Go…

letting goI am now the mother of a soon to be teenage boy. In a matter of months, my oldest will be 13. It is entirely too hard to believe. Yet it is true.

Since coming to Nepal, my kids have all been troopers. I mean leaving the comforts of America, their friends, their grandparents was not easy. Yet, they have adapted so well, and I am so thankful.

So, when Andrew came home from school with excitement in his eyes, telling us about a school trip.. I had to stop and listen.

The trip was scheduled to leave from Thursday to Saturday. Three days and two nights. I swallowed hard, and my first instinct was a strong no!

I wrestled with this for days, asking my husband to pray that God would give me peace. Sure, school trips are normal, nothing new. Except, we are on the other side of the world, and my son would be going on a 3 day trip with his teachers and classmates to a place I’d never been. Hiking up a mountain to get to the lodge they’d stay the night in.

Finally, the day arrived when we had to inform the school if he was going or not. By this point, I had more peace than before, and we signed the form. Andrew was so excited.

The day before the trip was set to leave, we packed his backpack, bought snacks and I added bandages, neosporin, germex, and mosquito spray to his bag. He rolled his eyes, but said nothing.

Then the day came and wouldn’t you know, we rose up to a dark sky that looked like rain. Really Lord, I thought, can’t it be sunny… this is hard enough. After taking him to school and talking with the teachers, I said my goodbyes and left to walk to the church. As I walked, I prayed asking the Lord to take care of him. And the Lord reminded me that he was His, and that just as He knows the number of stars in the sky, He also knows the number of hairs on Andrew’s head, and could and would care for Him.

As I walked, the rains began, but I had a peace that passed understanding. Yet, this peace was short-lived. For about an hour later, the rains were pouring down, thunders roared, and lightning flashed across the sky.

I had packed Andrew an umbrella, but he didn’t have a raincoat. So I talked my hubby into taking me to the school to let him use, Eric’s raincoat. If we left right then, we’d get there before they left. So off we went, only to arrive and find out that the trip was postponed due to the storm. Though the kids were disappointed, I was reminded that God truly is in control.

Today, we woke up to sunny skies. Andrew hummed through breakfast, ready to get to school to set off on this new adventure. Saying goodbye didn’t prove as hard today. And though I have thought of and prayed for him through out the day. The Lord is helping me to let go and trust Him. Reminding me that nothing can happen to me or my children which isn’t first approved by the Lord.

As I sit here typing, Andrew is up on the mountain, sleeping I’m sure after a five-hour hike. But, I spoke with him on the phone and he’s doing fine. Will I be glad when he is safely back home? Yes! But, I’m glad that we let him go..and that God is teaching me to trust Him on a different level.

So often in life, it is easy to let fears control. To let fears keep us from obedience to the Lord. To let fears keep us from missing out on the “more” God has for us. Yet, this is not what He intends. He desires that we truly learn to let go of the fears, and live life to the fullest. Trusting in His sovereignty and His faithfulness. We serve the One True God. The King of Kings, who holds the world in His hands. May we each learn to let go of worries and fears, and to truly trust and put our faith in the Lord.

God Knows, and that’s enough!

god knows bestThis morning as we were rushing about to get out the door on time for school. My daughter came down the stairs asking for the mop. At that moment I was busy getting the dishes from breakfast washed, and cleaning up the kitchen. Therefore I pointed to the corner where the mop was located and continued with my work.

After she left I quickly wondered what she was up to, but to be honest, I figured I was probably best off not knowing. Later I found that she had spilled water on the bathroom floor and was using the mop to clean it up. So it was a good thing.

Later as we were on our way to school, I reflected on this. This truth that sometimes it is best not to know.

And I thought of how so often we long to know the future. We want God to reveal to us next month,next year etc. I thought of how we seek to understand the end times and want to figure out how and when it will all take place. How we just wish for knowledge we do not have.

And I thought to myself, just as I didn’t need to know why Lauren needed the mop, some things are truly better off not knowing.

How many things in our past would we change, if we’d only known.

I’m sure we all  have a long list. Yet, this was all God’s plan.

Had I known that when we went to Korea, we’d only be there two short years, would I have gone? I don’t know.

Had I known that returning from Korea would lead us to spend a year and a half living with my family, would I have wanted to return? I don’t know.

Had I truly known what living day-to-day would be like here in Nepal, would I have come? I don’t know.

The truth is, some things are best that we don’t know.

Because the amazing truth is, GOD DOES KNOW.

And He is always working and orchestrating the details of our lives according to His plans.

He does see tomorrow. He see’s years ahead.

He knows….. and He has it all covered!

If we knew, we would not have need to trust in the Lord or put our faith in Him.

If we knew, we wouldn’t need to rely on the Lord.

Yes, some things are best left unknown.

For the Lord knows what is best for each of us, and we can trust in Him for all the unknowns.

 

Joseph’s Response

josephSo often when we think of Christmas, all of the focus is upon Jesus and rightly so. Next in line is Mary, but very few take much notice of Joseph.

As I was reading through Mathew 1, however, I realized what a difficult situation Joseph, too, was placed in. As I stated in Mary’s Song, I’m sure that life after the news was anything but easy. And I’m sure the gossip spread like wildfire.

Can you imagine what Joseph must have thought when he heard that Mary was with child? He must have been disappointed, afraid and maybe a bit angry. For the Bible tells us that he had in mind to put her away.

Now to better understand the culture, we must take a look at the significance of a betrothal. Most likely this was an arranged marriage. I’m almost positive Joseph was older than Mary, and they knew very little about one another other than what their parents may have told them. Once a couple was betrothed in the Bible times, this betrothal would usually last for about one year. During this time, the husband would work to build and establish a home. While the bride to be would work to prepare the things that would go into the home. At the end of the year, the groom would come for his bride. The bride had to be ready and waiting for her groom to appear.

Yet, for Mary and Joseph, none of this turned out as they planned. While Joseph was busy working to prepare the home, an angel comes to him to tell him that Mary is with child. Now,remember, Joseph probably knew very little bout Mary. So now he is supposed to believe that this child is from God. Yet, the Bible tells us that this is exactly what he did. He believed.

He didn’t put her away, he took her as his bride and remained separate from her until Jesus was born. Though I’m sure many speculated on their marriage and the baby. Though they probably were doubted and questioned by many including their family and friends. They believed God.

Suddenly, Ceaser issues a decree that everyone had to be counted. Now, Joseph must take his pregnant wife to Bethlehem. I’m sure this was not in his plans. But, they went. When they arrive, Joseph searched everywhere to find a room for him and his wife. He knew how tired she was and how uncomfortable. Yet, he could find nothing. Hanging his head, he brought his wife to a stable, because there was no room for them in the inn.

After Jesus was born, Joseph had another dream, warning him to go home a different way because King Herod wanted Jesus dead. So Joseph and Mary settled and lived in Nazareth.

As I read through the Christmas story with Joseph in mind, I was struck by his unfailing trust and belief in the Lord. Though he could have questioned, could have doubted. He did not. Instead He just believed. He walked so close with the Lord, that He knew what he must do.

The Scriptures tell us very little about Joseph after the birth of Christ. We know he was a Carpenter and we know that he and Mary went on to have many other children. Yet, Joseph is not mentioned any further. By the time of the crucifixion, we know that Joseph has passed away. For it was only Mary who stood and watched as Jesus died for our sins.

It seems the life of Joseph was obscure. He is not exalted as being anyone special. Yet, I believe He was special in the eyes of the Lord. For just as Mary was chosen of God to be the mother of Jesus. Joseph was chosen to walk with and raise Jesus up.

Though the Bible tells us very little about Joseph, we know He was a man of great faith. For He trusted and believed God. He walked with the Lord and enjoyed fellowship with him.

Somedays it is easy to think that our lives don’t count. That we aren’t anyone special. We get stuck in the mundane and feel insignificant.

Yet the truth is, we are special in the eyes of the Lord. He sees and knows everything we do. Nothing we do is insignificant. For when we live for and do all things as unto the Lord, He is pleased. When we trust and believe him, though others question us and though we don’t understand, He is honored as Lord.

Joseph like Mary was no one special. He was not some grand king or from a great family line. He was a simple carpenter. Who worked with his hands and sought to daily provide for his growing family. I’m sure there were many days he wondered at God’s plans and purposes for Him. Yet, in the eyes of the Lord, he was significant.

And in the same way, we too are significant.

This Christmas, let us not lose sight of the little things. Christ could have been born in a grand palace. He could have been born into a royal family. But he was not. He was born in a stable and placed in a manger. It was mere shepherds who were told of his birth and visited him at the stable. (Yes, sorry the wise men were not there, they came to his house probably a year or so later).

Yet, in the eyes of God, this was the night that changed the course of history. The night when God took on flesh and dwelled among us. Setting into action the plans for redemption that God had established from the foundation of the world.

Just a little night in Bethlehem… Just a simple young girl…. Just a Carpenter…. Just a few shepherds…

By no means, though simple and seemingly obscure, all of these things brought forth the Savior of the World.

I’m learning that Christmas is not about the fanfare. It isn’t about the lights, presents, food, family or songs. It is about Jesus and enjoying Him in the little things.

For He is there in the laughter of your child, the twinkle in your husband’s eyes. He’s there in the simple, daily task we must face each day.

Let us not miss Jesus this Christmas!!!

Up on the Mountain

villageI think I left indents in the car where my fingers dug into the seat today as we wound round and round, up a mountain to get to the village church.

You have to understand the roads here are small and as we wound our way up, I was sitting on the outer side of the car, closest to the drop off. If it were possible I think I might have climbed in my husbands lap.

I tried closing my eyes, I tried praying, but nothing seemed to help. With my eyes closed, I felt like I was on a roller coaster and you must know I hate roller coasters

But, finally we made it. We reached the church and made our way inside. I was so glad to be out of the car.

As the Pastor opened his Bible, he turned to Isaiah 6. One of my most favorite passages.

And as he shared, I looked around the room, and I felt much like Isaiah must have felt when he saw himself in the presence of the Lord.

I felt undone. I felt unworthy. I felt like a fraud.

Here, I’m suppose to be the brave young missionary girl.

Yet, I had fought against fear all the way to church. And sadly to say, fear had won.

As I listened to these people who have so little lift their voices in praise and worship. All I could do was bow my head and pray.

Praying and asking the Lord to forgive my fear, my doubt and my lack of trust in Him.

In God’s presence we will always be made aware of sin, and we will always feel undone!

I love the fact that Isaiah was a prophet/preacher.

Yet, even as a preacher/prophet, when alone in the presence of God, all he was, was undone!

I take comfort in this.  For though I have surrendered to missions. Though I have moved with my family to literally the other side of the world.I still struggle each and every day.

I still sin and deal with fear, pride, anger, frustration….. and the list goes on.

The Lord is well aware of the fact that we are merely dust.

And though we are righteous in His eyes, the work He is doing in our very lives, will keep on keeping on until we get to glory.

For He who began a good work in us, will be faithful to complete it!!! 

The view from the top of the mountain was spectacular.

The service was a blessing.

Yet, it took going up the mountain in order to experience it.

Had we stayed in the valley, I would have been able to avoid the fight with fear.

But I would have missed out on the glory of the Lord

God is not pleased with complacent.

He isn’t moved by our apathy.

The Lord longs and desires for us to see ourselves through His eyes.

To come into His presence, so that we will walk away changed. With a heart full of worship and a longing to obey Him no matter what.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Isaiah 6:8