Friday, February 21, 2014

what I crave



In the car, early morning, sun just rising over the horizon.  Coffee in one hand, hoping for it to warm up my insides a bit.  Two children in the back seat, ready for a day of school.  School that has been a rarity this winter.


Despite the sweet voices coming from the back seat, the new day dawning, and the fragrant coffee, I still feel dark.  Don't know why this cloud keeps following me around.  I don't want it.  I haven't asked it to stay.

But stay it does.


As I stare through the windshield a song comes on the radio.  The words catch me and I turn it up:



Hope sleeps without me
Her sweet dreams surround me,
But I'm left out
I'll need a fix now
To believe, to feel

These rooms are dark now
These halls are hollow,
And so am I
She is hard to find now
To believe
To see

I won't turn to dust now
Let these tears rust now on my face
Give me the spark now
To believe
To see

                                  Hope is what we crave, and that will never change
                                                               So I stand and wait
                                                I need a drop of grace to carry me today,
                                                              A simple song to say
                                                            It's written on my soul:
                                                             Hope's what we crave

"Crave" For King and Country


Hope.  Oh, I want to hope.  But I am scared.  I feel the stretch between pessimism and optimism.  Hoping for things to improve but kinda, sorta feeling like the next hammer is going to fall any minute.


But I feel inclined to hope, like I am tentatively walking out on a shaky bridge.  Taking one little baby step at a time.  Each time my foot moves forward, pausing for a moment to see if the bridge will hold.

A bit of hope sparks, my spirits rise a little, each time the bridge holds true.

But what if it breaks?  What if, the small hopes I have begun to build up, come crashing back down?


Again.

Well, then, I'm going to need Someone to save me.  To rescue me from that fall. And thankfully I have a Savior who said He would do just that.

So today, despite my pessimistic friend sitting on my shoulder, I will dare to hope.  Even if it's just a little.


Because I do believe my soul craves hope. Needs it to keep moving forward each day.





And, as I continue to remind myself, the hopes of this life are temporary, fleeting.  But hope in my Savior?  Now that will last, and nothing can take that away.




Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, 
because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  
perseverance, character; and character, hope. 
 And hope does not put us to shame, 
because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts 
through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. 
Romans 5:3-5








  

Monday, February 17, 2014

Lifesong Mission Moment

14-02 MM email

"Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows." Isaiah 1:17

Advocate. There are countless ways to advocate for the orphan whether through adoption, sponsorship, in-country orphan care or prayer (just to name a few). Enjoy this month's Mission Moment as we highlight some of these advocate opportunities...

ADVOCATING FOR THE ORPHAN {Chris Hopf}

Chris Hopf, a pastor at Second Baptist Church (Houston, TX) and India Orphan Advocate, shares what it means to be an advocate for orphans abroad and in your own community. Listen in...


To learn more about becoming an Orphan Advocate, visit lifesongfororphans.org/advocate.

FINDING A NEW FAMILY {Maryjuri's Story} 


Meet Maryjuri, a 13-year-old at Plan Escalon School in Honduras who is learning the power of redemption from her own life's circumstances. Listen in to hear how God has given her a NEW family and a NEW belonging. Become an ADVOCATE for students like Maryjuri through the support of child sponsorship!

To learn more about sponsoring a child like Maryjuri, visit lifesongchildsponsorhip.org.

ADVOCATE THROUGH PRAYER {Lifesong Prayer Team}

Prayer Team

Sign up to receive monthly updates of recent prayer requests and praises from all across Lifesong's ministry. Learn more at lifesongfororphans.org/prayer-team.

READ MORE...

Showing Jesus to the Forgotten -- Learn what it means to be a TFI Advocate to the forgotten in your own community. Read More

"We Had Room for Another Child" -- Lifesong celebrates adoptive family who has received funding FOUR times! Love to see families ADVOCATE through adoption. Read More

Be an Advocate for Orvin -- See the incredible HOPE in Orvin's eyes despite the loss he has suffered and see how you can advocate on his behalf. Read More

Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit 10 {May 1-2; CHICAGO} -- CAFO2014 Summit inspires and equips Christians to care for orphans with wisdom-guided love. Register today! Read More

*COMING SOON*

Celebrate Life Concert tour with Cheri Keaggy & Children from Zambia. This concert will be an excellent opportunity for the whole family to hear how they can help care for orphans and vulnerable children. Read More

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Romans 12:3


Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

I don't think I would be the first Christian to think that in order to be a humble, one must think little, or nothing, of themselves.

With the world harping on us all about self esteem and finding "me time"  I suppose it makes sense to go the "I'm the least among everyone" route since it's counter-intuitive to the world's culture.

But what if this is a call to think practically about ourselves?  To not look at ourselves through rose-colored glasses?

Can we acknowledge what we are good at, and still be humble about it?

I think it can sometimes be hard to do.  To be able to voice outloud what our strengths are.  Seems arrogant.

But perhaps we need to find the balance.  Not think so much of ourselves that we can't see our flaws.  But also not think so little of ourselves that we think we are of no worth to anyone.

Maybe you don't struggle with this.  Maybe  you have already found that balance.

I haven't.

So often I see other people with talent and strengths that I wish I possessed.  I often feel inadequate.  I don't really feel like I bring much to the table.

But I see in this verse where we are told to think reasonable about how we were made.  Each of us unique.  You have a strength, and I have a strength, but they aren't necessarily the same thing.

Be able to acknowledge the gifts that God has possessed you with.  And how you can bless His Kingdom with that.

And also be willing to admit where someone else has a strength....and you have a weakness.

Our fellow Christ-followers, joined in the same cause, each with "the faith God has distributed to each of us."

I need you.  You need me.  Together we are joined together in this family of God.  Let's celebrate our differences, because in those we each find where we excel.


And where someone else can help us out, too.

Missed the previous Romans 12 posts? Check them out here.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

January Lookback

 Well, January.  I am glad that you are over.  Sorry.  But it is true.  There was a ton of snow, not enough school and a little bit too much personal property destruction for my taste. 

I won't hold it against you, January.  I am sure you have some redeeming qualities, and maybe next year you will do better.

For now, I will look to the highlights, shake my head at the lowlights, and thank God for the blessings (there are many!) among the curses.

 Snow days = puzzles.  And the ones of beaches are the best.

 So glad we had a chance to see the Muellers before they headed back out into the snow!

 Our towered snowman just as the Blizzard was setting in...
 and the view from the front porch the evening after it blew through.

 Did you know that when it is cold enough you can throw boiling water 
into the air and it turns to snow?


 More snowed in activities!

 You can't see it, but there is a sign right behind Hannah on that lamp post.  
The snow was piled halfway up to the light.

 Some days (most days?)  you just need to do this.

 When there is no school and it's too cold (-20!) to go outside, what better thing to do that to dress as princesses, make experiments in the kitchen sink, and twirl in the living room?

 A rousing game of Old Maid.


 My almost finished office taken a couple days before the water damage.  Fittingly, our family motto is written up on the wall, and can still be seen despite all the damage today.


 Kids' bathroom

 Our bathroom


 And we may need to get a new vanity and sink...

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Celebration in the midst of it all

4 years ago we welcomed a dark haired individual into our family.


 Madeline Nichole was born.


She's grown up among teenagers and adults.  Content to play alone while everyone is at school.  But demanding of the spotlight when there are people to give it.


She has been our snuggler from the get-go.  I was afraid she would have grown out of it by now, but thankfully, she still loves to cuddle into me, give me kisses all over my face, and walk with her hand in mine.

Madeline makes us laugh daily, if not hourly.  That child has a knack.


I love to see glimpses of the young lady she may one day be.  Gentle with babies.  Compassion for those who are hurt or crying.  Praying daily for missionaries and 'those kids with no food or toys.'


Happy Birthday, Madeline.  We pray you continue to grow into the child of God that He has intended for you to be.  We love you and we are so glad you are part of our family!