christianity, Uncategorized

Looking Ahead

Our house is full of boxes once again, things are in disarray, not in their normal places. But one thing is consistent…I have peace.

As I stare out the window facing the ocean, I am reflecting about our time in Mexico. I have shed many tears here. Some happy, some sad, and some full of anger. Anger at the suffering we see, anger that it’s an unjust and unfair world.

I know when Eve offered the fruit to Adam and he ate (Genesis 3:6) that was not the road God had wanted them to travel down. But thanks be to God he is bigger than our mistakes. He had a plan. A plan that would cost His son’s life. But, an awesome plan that would wipe away every spot and blemish, every sinful thought, every tear from our eyes. Yes, it would be thousands of years later, but it would happen just as he promised.

Moving back to Washington was not on the radar three months ago. In fact, we were talking about making Mexico our long-term plan. We have been asked many times over the past two years what our plan was. “How long will you be here?” is a common question. Our response has always been, “As long as God calls us here.” We held Mexico with an open hand.

Our ministry is called Cherith Brook based out of 1 King’s 17, where Elijah went to hide and the crows fed him because there was a famine. As I was staring out our window, I felt like I should revisit this story in scripture, but continue to read further down the chapter.

Eventually the Brook dries up. Cherith Brook, where he would get his thirst quenched no longer produced the nourishment his body needed. So what next? What was he to do?

1 Kings 17:8 says, “Then the LORD said to Elijah, Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”

I love this because God continues to direct Elijah. He doesn’t leave him hanging. He gives instructions and tells him exactly where to go. Elijah listens and obeys. He doesn’t know all the details. He just goes.

As the story continues we see some miracles, which is awesome! But, for me, I felt like God saying, “I got this Christine. I am calling you back to Washington. I have a plan. Do you trust me?”

This past month we have seen God open so many doors for us, making it clear that He is definitely calling us to Washington. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know the entire plan. We are taking it one step at a time as He directs us.

Two years ago, as we were pulling away from our cabin (the original Cherith Brook) to move down to Mexico, I had a choice. Do I look back longingly like Lot’s wife did? Or, do I look ahead at the adventure before us. I had a huge choice to make.

Quite a bit happened at that cabin. It was where God met me and I had to face some hard truths about myself that I didn’t want to see. I became FREE there. When we were in the truck pulling away from our beloved place on earth, I decided not to look back. I knew God wanted us in Mexico and I didn’t want to be disobedient in my heart. I had to push forward with the thought that I may never live on the mountain again. I gave it up.

Here we are, returning to a home, that I love. It’s not pretty. It needs a lot of work. But, I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store. I’m sure there will be trials-there always are in life. However, I am excited to experience the next chapter, so I can learn and continue to grow.

Sometimes the future just doesn’t make sense. Many good things are happening in Mexico. Why would God have us move now? I don’t have the answer to this. But, a verse comes to mind and it is this:

“I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:6

Thank you, Lord for always directing our footsteps. We may not like the direction you are leading us, but it always works out to our benefit. I pray that wherever we are, your light will always shine through us and that you will continue to enable us to love the one in front of us. Amen.

christianity, family, Uncategorized

Abalone Shells and Sand Dollars

When I was a little girl I used to think what if all the glistening sand on the beach was my money? I would be one wealthy little girl! Oh, what I would do with all that cash!

Today my husband and I went on a walk at our local beach, here in Mexico. It was a beautiful warm afternoon. I smiled as I looked down at my sandy toes and saw the gold colored sand twinkling on the path before us. I suddenly remembered my thoughts as a little girl and thinking about the sand being money.I laughed as my thoughts on money have changed quite drastically as an adult.

As we continued on down the beach, we noticed some small sand dollars. They were so unique and each one a little different. We walked farther and came across an abalone shell which was even more glorious as it’s rainbow of color shone in the sun.

After looking at these treasures I, again, thought of things that I used to think as important or precious (house, car, a good hair day, cool jeans, etc.) and what I see as treasures to me now. Quite a different list.

Today my treasure was spending time with my husband, holding his hand on the beach, talking about life. Seeing the sand dollars and the abalone shell and being reminded that God put those along our path for my pleasure. It gave me joy to see such small things that were God created, not man created.

What is your treasure today? What are you thankful for?

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…for where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

homeschooling, marriage, Uncategorized

A Marriage Proposal

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22

What a week it has been! Our youngest daughter took her final exit exam for high school, graduated, and got a marriage proposal!

We have prayed for our kids’ futures since the day they were born. We prayed for God’s will to be done in their lives and if marriage was part of that will that they would find the perfect spouse that God had created specifically for them.

I believe Sarah has found the man God intended for her. It is exciting to watch and see how God worked it all out.

Sarah was 16 when we moved to Mexico. Needless to say, she wasn’t very happy with us. She was leaving her friends, grandparents, extended family, and everything familiar to move to a foreign land that may or may not have running water.

She was bitter and had been plotting how she could get back to the states before turning 18. She thought maybe she could go live with my parents and come down to visit us every so often.

After three weeks of being angry, she talks about how she realized that she had two choices; She could stay with us and be resentful the whole time, or she could have an attitude change and look at all the beauty that is in Mexico and learn all she could about living in a foreign country. Thank goodness she chose to do the latter and have a heart change.

Upon doing that, she met the man that would one day be her husband. He is a missionary here, in Mexico and works at the local orphanage. The neat thing is, early on God told my husband that this young man was going to marry our daughter.

We have gotten to know Cole over the last year in a deep way and have come to love him as part of our family. He is a neat young man that loves God, works hard, and has a great sense of humor.

His marriage proposal was one of the most amazing things I have witnessed in a long time. It was full of humility and excitement mixed with peace and love.

My husband and I are all for (Christ-centered) marriage. I have said it before, a healthy marriage shines Christ more than anything else on this planet. When done right, it is a picture of the selfless love that Jesus showed us and I don’t think it’s just coincidence that Jesus’s first miracle was at a wedding.

We are the bride of Christ! When I look at these two young souls in front of me and how much they want to be together and the love they have for each other, I am reminded that Jesus looks at me the same way! He can’t wait to be with us, His bride! We are invited to partake of the marriage supper of the lamb! (Revelation 19:6-9)

How exciting is that?!

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

marriage, Uncategorized

Day 21 Prayer: Sound Mind

Thoughts can run away from us. Sometimes I find myself laying in bed mulling over the day. Soon, I am not just thinking about the day, but I am thinking about comments that were said; how I should have answered differently. Or, maybe I was silent and wished I had spoken up and possibly defended myself. I go down the rabbit trail of how I will respond next time.

In reality, it’s not a good thing to start that line of thinking. I have found it leads to anxiety, worry, and in some cases depression.

The Bible says we need to take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) the key word is to obey. If I am thinking thoughts of how I would retort back to someone, that tells me my heart is not in the right place. Maybe being silent was actually the godly response. Jesus didn’t always defend himself.

Our minds can be a whirlwind of deception and imagination. Thank goodness we can have the mind of Christ. As we grow and learn to discern better what is true, we are able to put away ungodly thoughts.

When my husband faces depression, I am able to recognize the signs and start praying for him immediately. He will often ask me, “Have you been praying for me?” He knows I am, because the depression tends to not linger as long as it once did.

With the stress this world offers, we need to diligently be praying for our spouse’s thoughts. It’s easy to go down unwanted rabbit trails and with our hyper sexual society, thoughts can go wrong in a flash.

Day 21 Prayer: Sound Mind

Pray for a wise and discerning mind.

Pray that your family would take to heart Philippians 4:8, which says, “Whatsoever things are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things.”

Pray that you would be able to take every unpleasant thought captive.

Thank God for the mind that he has given to you and your spouse and pray that you will have unity and likemindedness in all things.

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

christianity, marriage, Uncategorized

Day 13 Prayer: Our Speech

“Indeed we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every way.” James 3:2 NLT

How many of us have said things we regret and wish we could take our words back? I try to be careful with my words and my response to others. But, all too often I find myself wishing I could go back in time and respond differently to something someone said.

Whether it’s talking face to face, writing on social media, or talking about someone when they aren’t there, our speech can either speak life or death.

James chapter 3 has a great deal to say about the tongue. Verse 9 says “People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.”

Wow! We need to really think before we speak. Are we building each other up or tearing one another down due to jealousy and envy? Are we letting anger and frustration rule our emotions instead of taking a moment to stop and take a breath to let the Holy Spirit have control?

Day 13 Prayer: Our Speech

Thank God for His wisdom and mercy.

Thank Him that by drawing closer to Him we can speak life and show love to those close to us.

Pray that you and your family would be able to be gentle at all times, willing to yield to others, and be merciful even in the most difficult circumstances.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29 NLT

Uncategorized

Are we the Same?

Two women. One from the United States and one from Mexico. Did we know our paths would cross one day? No! But, I am so glad they did. My life is forever changed. Are we the same? In some ways, yes. In other ways, no. Her life much harder than I could ever imagine. Some would look at me and say I am far better off than the other woman. Some would say I was born into privilege. But what makes me any better than anyone else? Because I was born in a country where life is much easier? Because I was born in the US? How much different my life would be if I was born in a third world country. Why was I the lucky one to be born in North America? But, am I really the blessed one? Sometimes I question if I am truly fortunate. The other woman able to take one moment at a time; to be focused on what is truly important, family. Me, so busy with life and not able to relax without feeling guilty. Questions that stir in my mind as I sit watching, talking, and waiting among the beautiful people here in a Mexico.

christianity, homesteading, Uncategorized

Go into all the World…

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15

A few months back I wrote a blog post called, “Send Me.” Little did I know just what those wordsTraditional-Mexican-Food-Recipes-2 would mean in the short time to follow. I meant what I said with all my heart, “Lord, send me.”

However, I did not think that it would happen so suddenly. My husband and I met a man recently that God has used to change the course of our lives. This man came to one of our home fellowships and really hit it off with my husband. Over the next few months, we have had several meetings with him, fellow-shipping and breaking bread together. He is in the Navy, but on his down time, he does short mission trips to Mexico.

One evening after spending several hours talking about our life living off-grid and discussing this gentleman’s mission trips, he asked my husband and I if we would pray about moving to Mexico permanently to be caregivers of a mission house. We were stunned. We had been feeling like change was on the horizon, but didn’t know when, and most assuredly didn’t know what we would be doing.

We prayed that evening together and as we were laying in bed I said to my husband, “I feel like if they asked us to go tomorrow, I could.” I had a peace wash over me. Mark replied, “I feel the same way!” So the past few weeks, we have been preparing and letting family members know. God is opening the door wide! (Revelations 3:7 & 8) God is going before us. He has already had funding come in and the house is being prepared as I write this.

Our two daughters will be coming with us and our son will be staying in Washington. He is almost 20 and has a good job. He feels like God is telling him to stay behind. As we prepare, the Lord has shown us more and more what we would be doing in Mexico.

Some of the other missionaries found out that I homeschool and have asked me to teach their kids! I am so excited about this. I thought my years of teaching would be coming to an end soon and here, God has made it clear that this could be just the beginning. My husband will be teaching Bible, doing building projects, marital counseling, and much more. All of us will be helping out at the orphanages, medical clinic, and churches in the area.

Although this has been a shock, we are all very excited. I have moments when worry and fear can consume me, but in the end, I know that God will take care of us. I understand it will not always be easy but I can see how God’s hand is on this journey and I believe our days of living off-grid has prepared us “for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14)