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

A Godly Woman: Anger & Profanity

I was recently talking with someone and they were saying how difficult it is to let go of anger. I agree. Sometimes, I believe we allow anger because in reality, it can feel good to let off a little steam. It can be the trickle down affect…I was yelled at, so I will raise my voice to those in lower positions.

Another reason we get angry (mom’s are prone to this) our expectations aren’t being met. The house is a mess, the dishes aren’t done, the kids are too loud, etc. I was guilty of this when my kids were younger.

Maybe you have a coworker who is difficult to get along with. Or, someone in your life who just rubs you the wrong way, and your hackles get up every time they walk in the room.

So what should our attitude be? I love going to scripture and seeing what the Bible says. I did this a few days ago because I am dealing with someone right now who hasn’t been very pleasant. I had anger growing inside of me and I didn’t like where those feelings were headed.

Ephesians 4:22 & 24

“Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy.”

These verses are great for reminding us that we have been made new in Christ. I love verse 24 where it says “Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” We need to go to God daily to be refreshed and renewed.

Let’s look at more verses:

Ephesians 4:26

“And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.”

What happens when we get angry at someone? We start to “vent” or so we say. Which, can easily turn into gossip. If we let the anger take control it leads to all kinds of bad things. In verse 27 it tells us not to go to bed angry. We need to talk to the person we are angry with before the next day comes. This can be difficult to do. It requires getting rid of our pride and talking through the situation and even possibly having to hear things about ourself that we aren’t going to like.

With anger we can let our tongue get away from us, which we talked about last time. James 3 explains taming our tongue. But, I want to look further in Ephesians.

Ephesians 4:29

“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.

It seems like in this day and age cursing has become the norm. I didn’t grow up in a house that cussed. So, every time I hear profanity, it sets me off. Unfortunately, I hear it more often than I’d like. Movies, television, adults, kids, it’s everywhere. I have heard people say, “It’s just a word.” True. But, what is the meaning of that word? And do you really need to say it every five seconds?

The Greek word for profanity or corrupt is Sapros, which means rotten, worthless, bad, corrupt. I had to do a fruit inspection in my own life and realized I don’t always say the nicest things, especially when I am angry. Anger and unwholesome talk go hand in hand.

I pray I will be like the above verse and have things that are good and helpful, and encouraging come out of my mouth.

Our next two verses sum everything up really well.

Ephesians 4:31 & 32

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tender hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

So, to review what we have looked at so far: A Godly Woman is…

  • Pure
  • Respectful
  • Diligent
  • Controls her tongue
  • Controls her thoughts and emotions
  • Is not angry
  • Doesn’t let profanity or unwholesome talk come out of her mouth

Dear God, thank you for these biblical truths that you revealed to me. I pray that you will enable me to go to you daily and hear what you have to say. May I become the Godly woman you desire and may my speech be fragrant to all those around me.

family, marriage

Day 20 Prayer: To be a Good Father

I love my dad. My father is one of the most humble, gentle people you will ever meet. Is he perfect? No. However, his Godly example is bearing fruit not only in my life, but in the life of my kids.

My earliest memories are of him reading his Bible every morning while eating his breakfast. (My mom did this, too, but we are talking about fathers.)

My dad is a hard worker, a man of integrity, and has great knowledge and wisdom. He also has a funny side. He is a man of few words, but when he speaks, we always wonder if he will say something wise or funny.

Maybe you didn’t have a good father. Maybe your dad wasn’t even around. It saddens my heart when I hear stories of fathers who didn’t stand up to the plate, and were absent or were abusive either verbally or physically.

The wonderful thing is, we can pray for our husbands to be a good father to our children. Regardless of their upbringing, God can do awesome things in the heart of a man who is willing and ready.

Day 20 Prayer: To be a Good Father

Thank God for the children he has given to you and your spouse.

Pray that your husband will be a Godly example to your kids.

Pray that he will not provoke your children to anger. (Ephesians 6:4) If this has happened in the past, pray that he would be able to use his words wisely and discipline without anger.

Pray that he would be able to communicate and be interested in your children. If he struggles with the desire to be an interactive father, start there. Pray for a change of heart.

“The righteous who walks in his integrity-blessed are his children after him.” Proverbs 20:7

marriage

Day 12 Prayer: Peace

As I take a look at our world, I quickly recognize that people are not at peace. I see turmoil everywhere. I see it in the news, in the streets, in schools, and in homes.

If it breaks my heart, I know it breaks God’s heart.

Where does peace come from? But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” Galatians 5:22

Peace comes from the Holy Spirit, so the more we draw close to Him, the more our old self dies, producing good fruit. Thus, we will look different to the world, because our very actions will be Christ-like.

Many times people have walked into our home and said, “Its so peaceful here.” It’s not because of anything I did, believe me. That is all God. God brings peace.

When we keep our focus on God, we have peace. How many of us have been through difficult things and when we rely on ourself, we have anxiety and fear. But, when we give it over to the Lord, His peace, which surpasses all understanding, sweeps over us. “You will keep him in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.” Isaiah 26:3

Day 12 Prayer: Peace

Thank Him that we can have peace in our lives and homes.

If your home is not a home of peace and comfort, pray that God would show you what needs to change. Pray that love would sweep over your household. Without love, peace isn’t possible.

“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!” John 16:33

christianity

Deep Roots

“…He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season…” Psalm 1:3

I just finished the book Through the Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot. I have heard the Jim Elliot story many times especially being a homeschool mom. We tend to make it a point to study missionaries to encourage us in our own journeys. 

At this time in my life and living in Mexico as a missionary myself, I thought it would be great to dive a little deeper and read about the people who truly lived out what they believed. Thus the reason for reading Elisabeth Elliot’s story and where it all began. 

Her husband along with four other men were killed by a local tribe of natives in South America. They were trying to make missionary contact and to spread the gospel of Christ. It is a remarkable story of dying to self for all those involved.

I sit in awe at the widows’ response. Barbara Youderian wrote: “I want to be free of self pity. It is a tool of Satan to rot away a life..the lord has closed our hearts to grief and hysteria, and filled in with His perfect peace.”

So often self pity is our go to response and here we see a woman who clearly has every fleshly right to have self pity, yet she wants nothing to do with it. Amazing! 

I want to have deep roots like these women did. I don’t want to be tossed to and fro by the waves of this life. Elisabeth wrote: “God is God. If He is God, He is worthy of my worship and my service. I will find rest nowhere but in His will, and that will is infinitely, immeasurably, unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.” 

I was encouraged to keep fighting the fight…even when it’s difficult. To keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. He will direct me and if I get off course He loves me so much He will redirect me to His perfect will if I allow Him to.

Yes, trials will come. Yes, we will have conflict. But, He is bigger than all of those things and it’s through those trials that we become refined, shining Christ light for all to see!

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.

church

Saying Goodbye

This week has been difficult as we say goodbye to our family and friends. We leave in a couple of days to go live in Mexico. Many tears have been shed. An old song from Michael W. Smith comes to mind:

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends

To all of our ‘friends’ some old, some new. We love you all and we know that this is not ‘goodbye’. It is ‘see you later!”