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

How Will I Know?

This is something a dear friend of mine wrote after her husband died. I came upon it this week as we are packing up our things to move back to Washington. It touched me the first time I read it and again as our life is about to change drastically.

How Will I know?

How Will I know if I am a woman of trust until tested by life’s heaviness pressing and crushing in and yet…I discover You, my God, are here with strong hands extended out waiting to take my hand in Yours.

How Will I know if I am a woman of faith until what I have held in possession is stripped and taken away and yet…it is just that which allows me to behold Your beauty as my one thing I desire.

How Will I know if I am a woman of hope until discouragement and loneliness creeps in and yet…I’ve encountered that my alone time spent and given over to You Lord, satisfies completely.

How Will I know if I am a woman of forgiveness until being wronged and tested with unfairness and yet…when asked, I learn to surrender the pain over and into Your care.

How Will I know if I am a woman of joy-filled praise until what I loved so dearly has gone from my life and yet…the dependency on You has produced a song of worship in my heart for my Savior who never leaves me.

And finally, how do I know if I am a woman of love until these hardships are allowed to transform me into Your image, Jesus, and I can see the world and touch it with the heart like yours?

KM

07/06

_________________

We have enjoyed our time greatly in Mexico, but the Lord has made it clear that we are to go back to the state that we love and be closer to family, aging parents, and finish what we started at Cherith Brook. I don’t know what is in store, but I do know that he will direct our steps. God often doesn’t give us the big picture! He says, “Do you trust me? Will you obey even if you don’t see?” So, we are trusting Him to provide for all of our needs. He has already opened so many doors leading us in the direction He wishes us to go. One. Step. At. A. Time.

We are excited for our new journey. It won’t be easy. But, I know that when we go through hard things, He is always with us. We would appreciate prayer for wisdom, safe travels, and an easy transition for the students I have taught over the last two years as they interact with their new teachers.

Thanks to all who are our prayer and support partners! We couldn’t do this without you!

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

Little Things…

We are a little over a week away from our daughter’s wedding! Everything is happening so fast and As you know, I have been thinking quite a bit about love and marriage.

We have all been battling a nasty cough and this week it was my husband’s turn. He has been trying to get rest and taking all his medications that help with this head cold.

One day after I was finished teaching school, I went in to see how he was feeling. I gently took his hand and held it. He looked up at me and said, “Your touch brings healing to me.” I was stunned at how just a simple gesture can mean the difference between depression and desperation to hope and healing to someone.

We know we need touch. It’s one of the five love languages and it’s an important one. For me, touch was always on the bottom of the list. My husband on the other hand, loves touch and it was number one for him. Even though touch wasn’t my first love language, I have grown over the years to understand that it is very much needed and it has moved up on my list to number three.

Jesus touched the unclean. He went out of his way to heal the sick; to touch the untouchable, to make himself unclean, so that another could experience life and living water.

Living in Mexico we see plenty of unclean people. Some are just dirty, some have lice or other diseases. I hate to admit it, but several times when I offer a hug to one of these “unclean” people, I think to myself, am I going to contract something? But, then I say a prayer of forgiveness and ask God to do a work in my heart. Because in reality, do I want to sacrifice convenience for disobedience to the Father?

What if physical touch to the person in front of you meant life or death? What if putting a hand on a shoulder or shaking a hand and really meaning it, provides the hope they need to make it through one more day?

The neat thing is, in marriage, touch produces life; life to the marriage feeding the soul, and life in the form of a newborn baby.

“Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man…immediately the man was cleansed of his leprosy.” Matthew 8:3

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

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, Missions

Day 19 Prayer: Coming Out of Comfort Zones

When we were in the Philippines, we asked one of the Pastors what his vision was for the ministry. His reply has stuck with me.

He said, “I want to get this church established and raise up a leader, so I can go to other parts of the Philippines and start more churches to spread the gospel.”

I thought, wow! I like his vision. But, what a difficult one. He was willing to start fresh. To give up what he had worked so hard for, to continue reaching people. For him, it wasn’t about how many people came to his church. He just wanted to reach more people. This seemed like such a different concept than what I have seen in American churches.

I struggle with my comfort zone. Some maybe thinking, you?! I know we lived off-grid where we had to haul water everyday and didn’t have conventional electricity and Now we are living in Mexico. But, These things are just giving up some modern comforts.

To volunteer at a rehab home or walking through the red light district inviting drug addicts to church, that’s way out of my comfort zone. However, I have been blessed every time I do it.

It’s baby steps. Like the Pastor in the Philippines, I’m sure when he started his first church, he was anxious and wondering how it was all going to work. Seeing God work out all the details and watching people get excited for Christ, I bet it spurred him on to go a little further and continue God’s work.

Day 19 Prayer: Coming Out of Our Comfort Zone

Thank God that He stretches us beyond what we think we are capable of.

Pray for you and your spouse to step out in faith and do something that is uncharacteristic. For your husband, it may be as simple as leading your family in a Bible study, which can be difficult for a lot of men and way out of their comfort zone.

Pray that your kids will be willing to go beyond what they normally do. Maybe it’s talking to a friend about Christ.

Pray for an opportunity to talk as a family about what God’s vision is for your family as a whole.

“But be doers of the Word, not hearers only.” James 1:22