September 23, 2010

Normal life challenges

Life is full of challenges, some large, some small.  Sometimes things are just annoying, other times they can be paralyzing and frustrating.  I think a great deal of how we face challenges comes from where we are in our faith walk.  If we can really and truly say "Nothing happens that hasn't been sifted through God's fingers and I trust Him.  It'll all work out somehow even if it is really hard."
Those are tough words to say and believe...deep down... believe and cling to... even in a dark shadow place of life.  I have seen and read about people clinging tight in the face of truly horrifying things.  I think God is having us practice with the baby steps of normal life challenges.  I'm thankful to practice so that in the event we have to face a really dark road, we can walk it confident of the goodness of the Shepherd who walks alongside us.

We've dealt with our first bout of illness here at GBA.  B was diagnosed yesterday with strep throat and has successfully completed his first day of antibiotics.  I can say honestly that I am most grateful that God allowed someone to discover amoxicillin.  B came downstairs this morning with a smile.  A first since Tuesday.  Now he will just finish the meds and should be back to normal quickly.
We've also been dealing with some car issues for A this week.  He had gone to get an inspection sticker last week and $700 later he was trying to leave the garage to go to class when his transmission went. *sigh*  I suppose it was all good that it happened where it did - he was safe - no accident occurred because of the problem, etc.  But we had to have it towed (thank goodness for AAA membership), and it's been up in Manchester for almost a week now.  If all goes well and the Lord blesses he'll have the car back tomorrow after a hefty price tag.  Thankfully, again, we are in a position to loan him the amount he needs to cover the repairs and he'll be repaying us over the next few months.
Early this week I had to face a series of uncomfortable medical appointments for some questionable issues.  I was fine and clinging tight... right up until the night before the appointments.  Then... I cried.  I was scared.  The 'what-ifs' invaded my mind in the darkness of the night.  But God is good.  Steve held me and comforted me and reminded me that my faith doesn't change when I am scared.  I had my appointments and so far, it all seems fine.  I won't have final answers for a few weeks, but am confident that God is absolutely in control and that it's all going to work out okay.

Practice is hard.
But I am thankful that He loves me enough to let me practice.
Learning to trust God in the realities of life instead of just the fluffy words of Sunday morning is essential.  Following Jesus isn't supposed to be all rainbows and butterflies.  In John 16:33, Jesus said,  "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
These words bring me great comfort.  I will have trouble, but the One I follow has already overcome it all.  That doesn't mean this life will be easy by any means, but it does mean that I don't walk alone.  I can have His peace.
And once again, I am thankful.

Blessings on the journey~

September 12, 2010

Our newest addition

We knew it would happen... we've been talking about it and praying about it for a while now.
J has been especially anxious.  She really wanted to find someone special, someone just about her age...a girl who had been waiting a while.... waiting to be chosen.
Today the Compassion bloggers all are traveling home from Guatemala.  We've read the posts, seen the photos & videos.
We've followed the journey. 
Along the way we've learned a lot. 
About Guatemala, about the bloggers, about Compassion International and why they do it all in Jesus' name.

On this journey God has stretched our hearts, softened them a bit more, cracked them wide open and seen the tears spill down all over the keyboard.
So today we did again what we did earlier this year... when another fabulous group had said 'yes' to Jesus and went to Africa while we watched from here in NH.
We grouped around the monitor and searched the pages of children from Guatemala in need of a sponsor. Searching for that special girl... the one J has been praying for... just about her age... waiting too long... and we chose her.

Isn't she beautiful?  Her name is Blanca Maria... she lives in the mountains of Coban, Guatemala and her birthday is just 7 days before J's.  She has been chosen ...or maybe it's us that was chosen...because Jesus chose us.
Is there someone that will chose you?  Let your heart be here and change a life... it will change yours.
Blessings on the journey~

September 7, 2010

Will you help?

Back in the spring I stumbled upon a blog post that was about a trip to Kenya. It was a trip organized by Compassion International to take a group of bloggers to a country to see first hand what they do in those places, to help all those children. The idea is a marvelous one! Bloggers reach TONS of people. OK... those bloggers that people actually read and follow can do that... me... well... maybe someday. :-)
Anyway - this trip was amazing to follow.
I started reading a bunch of different blogger's accounts of the same day on the trip... and God started pulling on my heart.
I was nudged, I was poked, I was pulled.
My heart cracked and I cried.
I had the kids read some posts and they were tugged on as well.  I sent links to Steve and he said, "Do what you think is right." and then when he came home after work he asked "Are we sponsoring all of Africa yet?" with a smile that melted my heart more.
So we looked at photos, and more photos, and still more photos. We read bios, we talked about each one ... and my heart was broken at so much need.  Then... we saw his photo... read his name & bio, kids and I talked... and we chose him.  Fred.  Our little Compassion child... a child that we are growing to love and care about very much.  We have been thrilled to get letters from Fred, he's very young still so the Compassion team members help him write to us.  We pray for him daily.  God is letting us make a difference in the life of one small boy in Kenya... and prayerfully... we'll be able to sponsor more children in the future.
This week there is another trip... this time to Guatemala with a different group of bloggers.  I can't wait to see what God will do!
Compassion Bloggers: Guatemala 2010

I know not many people read my blog... but in case you happen to have stumbled across this post somewhere along your journey... please consider helping a child far away find hope. YOU can be the hands/feet of Jesus to a child somewhere in the world! How COOL is THAT?!?! God will LET YOU HELP! He will LET you... yes YOU... be part of His plans!
It totally knocks my socks off that God ... Creator of the universe and Savior of the world... lets ME help with something in His plans. ME... me who falls short, screws up and burns cookies and has a messy house most days....
God lets me be part of Fred's life from a zillion miles away.
He'll let you find a child to help too. Take a look.... let your heart be soft... change a life and let your life be changed too.

Blessings on the journey~

September 4, 2010

Common sense

I don't agree lock-step with everything that Douglas Wilson writes, but I do find the vast majority to be helpful, insightful and bibilical - which is very good, given he is a Pastor and all. :-)
This was a remarkably good common sense bit of writing:
Jesus, Reason, Soap