Friday, January 30, 2015

Set your sights


It was one conversation, told to me over 15 years ago.  Words meant to point me in the right direction.

But obviously, it meant something to me, since I can still remember it, scene and all.

"You don't want to do that.  That would be a waste of your intelligence.  You would be wasting your life."

This is what was said to me after I told someone I didn't want to go to college.  All I really wanted to do was work with underprivileged people and someday, hopefully, be a mom.

But a high school senior sitting with a near perfect grade-point average (curses Physics and your B+!) stating that that was as far as she was going with her education....well, that didn't set well with this person.

So, I did what any easily-influenced teenager would do....I went to college.

I found a degree that allowed me to work with and help people and get my schooling done in less than two years.  And then worked that field for 8 years.

7 years later I'm not anywhere close to that, doing something that I truly enjoy, that fits my introverted, highly organized brain quite well.

So, why was I thinking I should be doing something else?  Why was I thinking I was maybe 'wasting my life' like the "sage' advice from years ago?

Truthfully, it was something I was wrangling with for quite awhile.  I felt like I would turn the question over and over in my mind, never quite able to put my finger on the answer.

Success.

 How do you define it?

Does it line up with what the world sees as success?

Or what God would see as success?


Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 
Colossians 3:1+2

Just as I went through Romans Chapter 12 last year, I am focusing on Colossians Chapter 3 this year.  The verses that I was focusing on this month were the first two verses.

I read them at the beginning of the month, not really connecting them to my struggle with how I view myself in relating to my "career choices."  Then, earlier this week, it suddenly occurred to me.  And I had to read the words over again, out loud, to myself.

I have been risen with Christ, I need to set my heart of the things that matter to God, not focusing on what matters to this world.

You don't have to keep up with the Joneses.  You don't have to measure yourself with the world's yard stick of success. 

Isn't that a relief!? 

Your struggle may not be how many letters of degrees you have behind you name.

Maybe it's the state of your home.

The size of your bank account.

The make and model of your car.

Where is your heart set?

Things that matter to God?  Salvation.  Mercy. Loving your enemy.  Helping the orphans and widows.

Or things that the latest Tweet or Facebook status tells you:  the best home, the best job, the best children, the best vacations... 

If you can find yourself relating to the second list even a little then let's step off this merry-go-round.

Let's sit down with the Truth.

And find out what really matters.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

One year later

One year later.

If I had any idea what was going to happen just 48 hours after I posted my lowest-point-in-the-journey post, I, well, I would have just cried harder.

January 28th, 2014, this is what our house looked like:



Thank you, Polar Vortex.

And here we are 1 year later (almost, by a couple hours).  I still get a visceral feeling when I look at the above pictures.

But I don't want these after pictures to be all about 'look at this great place we have.'  Because it's not about that.

Sure, I am so very thankful for where we are at in this moment.

But I recognize that not a single bit of this is because of anything I have done.

This is just another shout-out, giving recognition where it is due.

After a valley that lasted close to two years, the Lord has brought me through it.

He didn't pick me up right out of the middle of it.  I had to walk right on through to the other side.

There were no lessons to be learned in getting plucked out of the valley.  Lessons are learned as we walk, trudge, desperately clinging to His hand.  Until we walk, blinking into the sunshine.

No doubt this will not be the last valley I must journey, but I praise God He brought me through.

He is faithful, and when that next valley comes, He will be there for that one, too.








Saturday, January 24, 2015

Lifesong Mission Moment

Roma. New smile_Chernigov

This past Christmas season was extra special for a young man in Ukraine. A 19-year-old young man named Roman.

Unfortunately, at a very young age, Roman lost both of his parents. He was sent to an orphanage and later met local Christians who minister to children and young adults within the orphanage walls and after they age out.

Roman is a very curious kid by nature. He has asked many questions about life, about people, and about God. Another characteristic about Roman anyone would quickly notice is that he would rarely smile, displaying a tight-lipped frown on a somewhat gloomy face. Knowing the hardships of life he had faced, it didn't come as too much of a surprise.

This past September, as he entered a tech school to become a builder, he was invited to attend a Bible Study at a Lifesong Transition Home. He gladly accepted and started to attend. Although, he wasn't quite as quick to accept the invitations that were offered to attend church.The Lifesong staff started to pray for his repentance, as they sensed he was seeking the Lord.

As the staff continued to get to know Roman better, they discovered that his lack of smile had a reason behind it. Roman didn't have any front teeth! Our staff connected him to a charitable dentist who helped Roman at a minimal charge to bring his smile back. And guess what? Roman decided it was time to start smiling again. Shortly after, right around Christmas, he began to walk in fellowship with God, believing in Jesus as his Savior! And now, as you can see in the picture above, he hasn't stopped smiling!

Thanks be to God for drawing this young man to Himself! Please pray for Roman as he starts his walk with Christ, that He would be filled with the Spirit and walk in His Truth!

Learn more about the lives changing in Ukraine at www.lifesongfororphans.org/countries/ukraine.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

This and that

I know it's been silent here on my blog as of late.

It's not for lack of topics to write about.

More like the lack of knowing just the right way to talk about them.

 Until I get that figured out, I've got this.

You know it's going to be a good day when you get props 
on your fashion sense from the 6 year old.




And that.

I still can't say I am a huge fan of winter, but having a husband who can stay home 
on 'snow days' has made it slightly more appealing...

Monday, January 5, 2015

December Lookback

December

The season of lights.

I find it ironic in this part of the globe that the longest, darkest day of the year is just 4 days before Christmas.

 It's always darkest right before the dawn.

I love the lights of December.  On trees, on gutters, lampposts, and candles.

Like the whole month is trying to tell us something about the one Light we should all be anticipating.

I've already posted all our Christmas celebration pics, so here is the rest of month, what we did in between.

It was marvelous to experience a true Winter Break for the first time.  January 5th, and the start of school came way too soon.

So we tied up one year and cranked back up for another one.

 December, you left me thankful and content. 

And now, prepare for the onslaught of pictures...


 Maddie's preschool program.  Quite a production.  She was "a family member of Mary"

 Decorating a gingerbread house


 We has secret "elves" delivering us gifts for the 12 days of Christmas (this was for the 4 calling birds).  Thankfully we got to see who it was at the end!  Thanks, Wennigers!


Christmas cookie decorating 





 Maddie may have consumed more sprinkles than what was used for decorating...

 Checking out the downtown Christmas lights

 So great that the Muellers were able to spend an evening with us!

I love how close our kids are in age - and how well everyone got along!

 Finally got one of the adults

 Me giving into the reality of Christmas break.  Pajamas all day and messes will be cleaned up at bedtime.  This particular day the project was "snow."


 Random snoozes on the couch

 We got to spend an entire day taking care of this little guy.  A few girls didn't want to let him go at the end of it all.


 "Twins" dressed up for New Year's Eve Services



So glad we've been able to ring in the last few New Year's with the Wiegands

 Mario Cart generally makes an appearance

 This one's for you, Christa.  You're welcome.