Thursday, November 25, 2010

Why Be Thankful?

Happy Thanksgiving!  

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (The Message) 

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

It's that time of year again- the crazy, unbelievably hectic holiday season.  Why is it that we think the whole world has to go into crazy mode because of Thanksgiving and Christmas?  I'm as guilty as the next person on forgetting the real reason we celebrate this time of year as I get caught up in the hub-bub and celebrations.  I like to entertain and host people.  I also have a slight perfectionist tendency.  That doesn't always go well together with reflecting and enjoying this time of the year. Unfortunately, I get caught up in having everything just right and forget to relax, enjoy, and reflect.  

This will probably be our last Thanksgiving and Christmas at our house in Snellville.  I have very mixed emotions about it.  When we bought this house 3 years ago, I knew this was the place I wanted to raise my kids, and stay until they were at least in college.  It was ideal- big fenced in backyard with tons of trees, cul-de-sac where the kids could ride their bikes, neighborhood kids, and a not so great school district (ok, so that just keeps me focused on continuing to homeschool).  It was so different from our old house- small and cramped, no yard, no safe place to ride bikes, but it did have a similar not so great school district.  I continue to be thankful for this wonderful place God has given us to live these last 3+ years.  Knowing all of this, I want this year to be special.  

Practicing sharing their faith
In the midst of all the normal craziness, I'm adding the extra stress of knowing that this time next year will be full of packing and preparing to move overseas.  (God willing)  I have no idea where we'll be living or what the holidays will hold for us next year.  I look back over this last year and am continually amazed at what God has done for us in less than one year.  I start to get overwhelmed when I think about the future.  Who wouldn't?  Then I reflect on what God has done in the last year in our lives.  I have nothing to be concerned over.  We are following His leading, and He will take care of all the details.  Of course, I need to let them go, which is really hard.  

So, here are some things I'm thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day and everday:
  • First and foremost- my Lord Jesus Christ who left all He had in heaven to come to earth to be tempted, rejected, beaten, wrongly accused, and ultimately put to death in one of the most humiliating fashions we know.  He did this for me and for you, so we could be with Him and His Father in heaven one day.  He did this because of His love for us.  The story does NOT end at His death.  He rose three days later to claim victory over death.  Thankful that we serve a LIVING Savior.  
  • A husband that loves His Savior first and me second.  I cannot thank him or God enough for having Tim in my life.  He is an example of a Godly husband and father.
  • My kids- the picture in this post was taken when we were down in Orlando at the Wycliffe Headquarters.  They were practicing sharing their faith with the tribal man.  I'm blessed as I watch them share with others and get so excited about our great adventure as we follow God.
  • The salvation of both of my kids.  The only things I can take to heaven with me when I die is people who have believed in God.  They will now be with us in heaven.  What a joy it is!
  • The privilege of being able to be part of sharing God's Word with people that do not yet know His transforming power and have never read or heard His Word in their own language.  
This is just a beginning list.  These are not based upon what may be gone tomorrow.  We could find out tomorrow that we are not going to Papua New Guinea.  We would still be grateful for the awesome opportunity we have to share God's Word.  We don't have to be missionaries to share His Word.   As I sign off, so I can begin the preparation (and finalize the menu) of today's big dinner, please take time to reflect on what you are truly thankful for.  Don't focus on the things that are based purely on circumstances and can be gone tomorrow.  Yes, I'm thankful for this wonderful house we have right now.  It is a different perspective knowing that it is temporary.  I'm thankful that God already knows our housing situation not just for next year but for the rest of our lives- here on earth and for all of eternity.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Our Family is Complete!

Bekah on "Rock Mountain" at Wycliffe USA
Yesterday was the greatest day in the life of our family.  It was the day that our family became a complete.  No, we didn't have another baby.  Our baby, Bekah, prayed to receive Jesus as her Savior.  We now have the assurance that the two most precious gifts God has given us will be with us heaven one day.  A parent cannot ask for anything more.  

As I look at this picture of Bekah taken last month while we were in Orlando at the Wycliffe USA headquarters, I think about she is now building her life on the true Rock- Jesus.  

One of my prayers as we began this adventure with Wycliffe was that Rebekah would give her life to Jesus before we left for Papua New Guinea.  Andrew gave his life to Jesus on July 25, 2009.  Now Rebekah has joined on November 17, 2010.  

My prayer for anyone reading this blog is that they, too, will know the wonderful saving power of our Lord Jesus Christ.  If you would like to know more, please contact us.  It would be such a privilege to share with you how God can transform your life.  

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved."  Acts 16:31

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

God uses everything

It's been tough getting back into the school routine after coming back from Orlando.  We've been doing review and finishing up our last unit the last two weeks.  This week we had to start our new unit.  This was no getting around it.  I was not excited about starting a unit on Pilgrims.  I know, it's Thanksgiving time and the appropriate time to do Pilgrims.  We did a large unit on Pilgrims last year.  I wasn't ready to repeat it.  Grudgingly I drug out the teacher's guide to look over the unit.  Each week's lesson has 2-3 points for us to focus on while we are doing our study.  It is the very first thing we read.  I read through it as I was preparing.  This is what I read:

"It takes strong motivation to cause someone to leave the place he considers his home.  When someone does leave his home, it gives you insight into the strength of his conviction or the difficulty of his situation." 

OK, God.  I understand why it is important that I cover this lesson with the kids at this time.  Or so I thought.  I was looking over the writing assignments.  I have decided that someone came in and replaced our normal assignments with assignments that I need to talk about with the kids.  Topics like moving, what makes home a home, etc.  The writing assignment for yesterday- "Make a list of at least three things you love about your home...Tell one reason why you think it would be hard to move to another place."  Today's art assignment- create a collage of pictures or drawings to show what you love about your home.

I never knew when I decided on this curriculum that it was just what we needed.  We are studying Explorers as we study American History.  My only thoughts for this year was that I wanted to cover American History.  Everything so far as applied to our lives as we are on this Great Adventure following God's leading and direction.  I know this should not surprise me.  I've seen God work in some mighty ways, but I'm continually amazed at how He works even through the little things in our lives.  This is why everything must be continually committed to Him in prayer.