"to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faithin me." Acts 26:18

Friday, June 21, 2019

Seven Years and Now this Call

Today marks 7 years since we first moved to Uganda.  Our "Ugandaversary" has always been a point of celebration, even if only in my heart, simply because every year marked God's faithfulness to us in what was sometimes a difficult post that the Lord had called us to. 

This past Sunday in church we sang the Kristin Getty song "What Grace is Mine?"  The chorus sings,

"So I will go where ever He is calling me.  
I lose my life to find my life in Him  
I give my all to gain the hope that never dies; 
I bow my heart, take up my cross and follow Him." 

Seven years ago, I would have sung this with gusto.  The missional thought of going where ever He called me, stirred in me a sense of purpose and joy as Eric and I boarded the plane with 8 small children in tow.  I was willing to lose my life, to give my all and to take up my cross as I served him in Uganda.

Last Sunday I sat in church in America, with 9 growing children in tow and our home in Uganda so very far away.  Our dream of serving Christ there for many years to come has died a painful, horrible death and the tears flow every day still.  The first time we sang the chorus through, this glorious missional song felt like sandpaper on the open wounds of my heart.

Then the Holy Spirit, the Great Helper, began to prod...

"Am I not the one that has sent you to this new place?"
     "But God, we don't want to be here and not like this!"

"But will you still go where ever I call you? Just like you did 7 years ago?"
     "But God, Uganda seemed to have a purpose, but here all I see is how we failed."

"Will you lose your life in this place because you want to find it in me?"
     "Lord, I was willing to give up so many comforts in Uganda...water, power, safety... but I don't want to lose my life in this way and in this place, it's too much Lord!"

"Are you willing to take up your cross and follow me?"
     "In this place and way, Lord? I don't see anything beautiful about it."
   

But deeper still The Great Helper searched me and tried me, "Well, actually God, if it is you that is doing the calling, then I am willing...a thousand times my answer will be yes...if only you will give me more of yourself.  If you really will fill me with more of you, I'll follow you here.  If I really will find myself in You, I'll lose my life in this painful way.  Lord, I went to Uganda in obedience to your call.  I will now come back from Uganda in obedience to your call.  If you want me here, then in truth, I don't want to be anywhere else.  Lord, it is a big, heavy, rough, burdensome cross that I never in million years wanted to carry.  I don't like how it feels. I wish it would be taken away.  But I'll do it for you."

"God, I believe.  But please, Lord, I beg you... help my unbelief."

Monday, June 17, 2019

Blessings!

God has blessed us in so many ways this past month!

The biggest gift we were so thankful to receive is our van.  For our first few weeks in the US, all we had was a minivan.  So anywhere we all wanted to go required two trips.  haha...it was quite a juggling feat!  An anonymous donor gifted us a 12 passenger van, that has a nice cargo space in back.  Redeemer OPC in Atlanta did all the leg work to find it and purchase it.  My dad and I went and picked it up last week. Whoever you are, thank you so so much...many tears of joy were spilled when I heard about this gift.


Another great blessing was getting a new puppy.  We had so much loss when we flew back from Uganda, including all our animals...dogs, cat, rabbits, chickens, Guinea fowl, and ducks.  This sweet one, who we named Louisa May, has been a soothing balm to our hearts.  She's a St. Dane...half St Benard and half Great Dane.  She's still a puppy, but oh so sweet.  She comes running with me in the morning and is pretty spoiled the rest of the day.  




 We also were treated to a day at a waterpark.  We had a great time! 






Timothy is now in Oregon for the summer/fall working at an organic dairy farm.  Before he left, he managed to finish his 40 hours of driving time and get his full permit.

The Lord blessed us with a few weeks for the chaos of our move to settle down and then he blessed us with a week of Vacation Bible School at our new church.  This, of course, is a very new experience...my kids were the ones who kept running barefoot and complaining about the air conditioning being too cold. haha!  The kids had a blast though...the three littles as participants and the older ones as helpers.  On the last evening, they had a feast for the kids.  They dressed up like royalty and had a grand time.  The greatest blessing of the week was that it gave my kids a chance to make some new friends.



Sunday, June 9, 2019

Jesus Wept

This morning was rough.  As we sat at breakfast, silent except for tears, all of us were feeling the pain of the recent weeks.  The initial turmoil....the revelation of Satan's work, the unexpected packing, the rushed goodbyes, the 24 hours of travel, jet lag, the chaos upon landing, the joy and heartache of grandparents, aunties, uncles, and cousins visiting....has all ended.  Now we are in America.  Eric and I are legally separated.  And life just hurts.

This morning was communion at church.  At breakfast, I reminded the kids that as real as it is that we can taste and see the bread and juice, that's how real it is that Christ died for us on the cross.  And because we know that Christ died for us and we can trust him for our salvation, we know that we can also trust our future to Christ.  But this takes eyes of faith to see because we certainly don't "feel" it right now.

As I held the bread in my hand, I began to pray so earnestly that God would meet us in our pain.  Then Benaiah, who also held his bread while bent in prayer, leaned over and asked, "mama, did Jesus cry?"  The only answer I could give was a fervent yes with a hug, as my own tears spilled over.

Jesus wept.  He saw the damage, death, and decay that came with sin and he sobbed for it.  He knows our pain.  He knows betrayal.  He knows who the enemy is.  And he wept.

Christ gave us hope through the cross and the sacrament of communion drives that hope deep into our hearts.  As we sat together for lunch, somehow a wave of joy had peeked through again...a reflection of the grace of God to meet us in our pain this morning and fill our hearts with a peace that truly passes understanding.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

A Dark Providence

I know that this blog has been quiet for some time.  Sometimes God's people walk through such dark valleys that it is hard to even know what to begin to say others...the dark is so dark, that you are tempted to not want others to see.  That has been true for our family in the past three weeks.

We have recently discovered some serious struggles and sin in our family that need to be addressed.  Because of that, we are taking at least a 6-month leave of absence from Uganda in order to fly to America and get some significant counseling and help.

Our hearts are broken.  Our kids' hearts are broken.  It's hard to even begin to make sense of it all.  We know that these things did not take God by surprise.  Our only landing place right now is to trust the sovereignty of God and know that he is working all things for our good.

Please pray for us.  We do not see America as home.  For our kids, America is a strange land on the far side of the sea.  This has been a time of chaos and unsettling events that are difficult to make sense of as an adult, let alone a child.

For now, our immediate plan is that we will be in Georgia at my parents, where God has graciously provided a house for us to stay in.  Eric is already there waiting for us to come this Wednesday. (The kids and I fly out Tuesday night) We are still in need of a good mode of transportation.  We have access to a van that we can borrow, but it is not large enough for all of us.

I read this blog post recently,  never imagining that it would soon apply to us.  But yes, we are coming back as broken people right now.  We are having to trust our hearts to our Christian brothers and sisters in America.  We need much prayer, support, and love.

Please pray:
:: Pray for our hearts.  For repentance, truth, and forgiveness.

:: Pray for our kids and ourselves as we transition to America for a while.  Unlike when we go on furlough, we are not mentally or emotionally prepared for this transition.  It came up quickly (we decided to go about 11 days ago and we leave in 2 days) and has been full of turmoil.  The kids and I are going to have some sense of closure here, but nothing close to what we wish it could be.

:: Pray for the church here and the mission.  Pray that God will protect the church and mission from Satan, who will surely try to use this to destroy the gospel work here.

:: Pray for my health and strength.  I am on a high level of steroids to protect my body from going into an Adrenal Crisis due to my Addison's disease.  But even still, I'm struggling physically with all the stress/lack of sleep over the past weeks and the stress that is to come.

Because of the nature of the situation, I won't be posting too much on here, although perhaps I will continue to post about any fun memories in America that God chooses in his grace to give us.

The song that has been on constant repeat in the past couple weeks is What E'er My God Ordains is Right:

What e'er my God ordains is right:
His holy will abideth;
I will be still what e'er He doth,
and follow where He guideth.
He is my God, though dark my road.
He holds me that I shall not fall.
And so to him, I leave it all.

What e'er my God ordains is right:
He never will deceive me.
He leads me by the proper path;
I know He will not leave me.
I take content, what he hath sent.
His hand can turn my griefs away,

and patiently I wait His day.

What e'er my God ordains is right, 

though now this cup I'm drinking.
May bitter seem to my faint heart, 

I take it all unshrinking.
My God is true each morn anew.
Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart, 

and pain and sorrow shall depart.

What e'er my God ordains is right.
Here shall my stand be taken.
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine, 

yet I am not forsaken.
My father's care is round me there.
He holds me that I shall not fall, 

and so to Him, I leave it all.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Team Retreat

This past week, our family spent a few much needed days of spiritual and physical refreshment on our team retreat. We were blessed to hear from Jonathan Faulk and his wife, as he encouraged us through the book of 2 Corinthians. We are so thankful for this group of people and for all the people who support the work of the mission through prayer and offerings.  To God be the glory!


Saturday, April 6, 2019

A Long Week

Whew...what a time we've had lately.  Malaria season has kicked in...with the rains returning the mosquitos are also returning.  William and Benaiah had malaria first, then Katelyn came down with typhoid, then Talitha came down with malaria and some sort of bacterial thing going on, then Benaiah got malaria again, and Rebecca followed that with a tummy bug.  In the middle of all that, I ended up with a blocked kidney (but seemingly not from a stone) that left me in excruciating pain (way worse than childbirth) on Sunday and I spent the day in the hospital getting an Ultrasound and ultimately a CT scan.  On Monday, Talitha spiraled down further and we ended up in the clinic with her for IV antibiotics, antimalarials, and fluid.  Now Eric is playing catch up with the rest of us by coming down with malaria too.  In these seasons, we sure take comfort in God's mercy and compassion and also the prayers of very many saints.  I was listening to Paul Tripp's recent talk at the Gospel Coalition Conference on suffering.  His final point was that suffering happens in community as brothers and sisters in Christ pray for and support one another.  We really felt that last weekend as we walked through some difficult moments, but knew people around the world were praying for us.  



Towards the end of the week, the smiles finally came back out.  Praise God!

And the kids got a turtle as a gift. 

Today, I was able to run in a 5K for CURE hospital.  We have been very thankful for CURE hospital.  They specialize in pediatric brain surgeries...hydrocephalus, spina bifida, and brain tumors.  But they also have helped us out on more than one occasion with stitches, asthma attacks and this past weekend with my CT Scan.  (The radiographer even came back in after-hours from over an hour away to do the scan).  I was so thankful to be able to run today and support a great cause while I was at it.  And running in races here is just an overall great experience...late start times, dance party warm-ups, and dodging bodas and traffic... so much fun! I couldn't convince my family to join me this year, but it was a fun time to catch up with friends.


Saturday, March 16, 2019

A Saturday Science Silly


While students all over the world skipped school this past week in order to protest "climate change," my students were busy learning scientific truth via their Apologia science books.  I have been continually blessed by Apologia's God-centered, Christ-exalting, grace-filled teaching through all these many years.

I'm so blessed to be able to teach this crazy crew of mine.

Looks like my littles are gettin' smart.  haha!