Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Friendships

"Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit."  -Aristotle

Makayla has really enjoyed coming back to her friends this summer.  





They've made some good memories.

Friendships are one of those gracious gifts that God provides that are meant to enhance our enjoyment of Him.  We're learning and growing in our friendships.  What is it to be a good friend, to invest and love others because He first loved us not because of what we primarily get?  Yep, we're all learning with thankfulness!  I don't know if we'll ever have it mastered but the process is good for the soul!  :)

Rollerblades & Smooth Roads


Ethan sat in a pile on the couch.  I could tell his mind was brewing and his heart was stewing. 

"What's up E?"

"Oh, I'm just thinking."

"Yeah, about what?"

"I don't want to go back to Haiti."

We visit this conversation a lot with Ethan.  Sometimes we have a hard time discerning where he's coming from.  Sometimes he can just be indifferent for the sake of being indifferent and then there are times he seems to have a legitimate concern.  Always, we need the Spirit aiding us in this role called parenting!  Honestly, I wasn't up for the big conversation that needed to happen.  Selfishness loomed and I'd much rather continue with the 'important' he was "interrupting".  This is the conversation that asks a lot of questions, allows Ethan to speak; drawing out his heart, reminding him who God is and praying with him.  I need this kind of care too but unfortunately I can respond quite lazily to him.  Not this time, Lord.  Help me to hear his heart and speak truth in a loving and gracious way.  We need you here.  Right now.

I jumped in, "Why not, son?"

"Well.  I don't know." 

"You probably had more fun in Haiti than anywhere we've ever lived."

"Yeah.  But now we're here."

"Ethan, is God's grace here with you like it was in Haiti?"

"Yes.  But...", he trailed off in thought.

"Will God's grace lead you no matter where you are?  Is He always there for you?"

"Yes.  But it's just that I like being here."

"Yeah, why is that?"

"Well...I like smooth roads.  You know, I really like smooth roads.  I like to rollerblade outside on those smooth roads.  And ride my bike.  In Haiti you're always trapped in behind big fences."

I nodded my head in agreement.

"And, Mom...I like my family.  My uncles.  My cousins.  I just like America."

"But Ethan, when you were in Haiti and God was so gracious with you there...you didn't really want to come back to America."  

"Yeah, I know."

"Ethan, if God's grace is always providing for you here or there, you will be happy in Him.  Because everything He's provided is meant to point you to Him not the thing itself."

He's tracking with me now and his heart seems open.

"Truth be told...there are things I really like here too.  It's hard to not have some of the amenities that our country offers but all of this is passing away.  He provides above and beyond every place he puts us.  It's not always what we expect or what we think we need.  Sometimes it's not things at all.  Sometimes it's Himself.  You know what?  In everything He provides it's always to point us to Him.  You see E, it's really Him that we want.  He is the Provider and He's always with us.  We want to be where He is."

With a much more settledness we prayed together.  Our hearts both needed reminded of this truth and His power to fill us with joy in Him.  We easily get our eyes fixed on His gifts; losing sight of Him.  Our hearts are happiest when they are satisfied in Him.  We're satisfied in Him when we're worshipping Him.  We can't worship Him unless we see Him and we don't see Him unless we're reminded often of who He is. 

Testy-Winds Blow

He has a way of confronting our fickleness.  He's always revealing Himself as faithful, strong and true to our easily distracted hearts.   I can be so sure one minute and then a gush of testy-wind blows over.  Quickly, I'm ready to lose heart and give up.  There are weeks that bring great encouragement and then there are those that test us.  They are telling; revealing that we always desperately need Him.  He continually calls in every situation, "Come.  Come to Me.  I am all you need."


Under this big blue beauty  the Lord brought to mind these truths.  Nebraska's big sky can be a good place to gain perspective.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:2-4

AND
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.   2 Peter 1:5-7
As I rounded the corner, "More than a friend", by Jeremy Riddle came on Pandora.  It reminded me of Who He is, even when winds blow.  (Heads up:  Cheezy videos like this one can be distracting so maybe only listen to it, not watch.)
Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
Lord, you preserve both man and beast.
How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men
find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
Continue your love to those who know you,
your righteousness to the upright in heart.

Psalm 36:5-10
 Doesn't it do our souls wonders to consider Him?  He brings joy to our soul even when testy-winds blow and fickleness is exposed; pointing us to Him.  He alone is our boast and that is complete joy!

Friday, August 3, 2012

We {heart} Real Hope For Haiti

It's sometimes really hard to find humanitarian aid being done well in Haiti so when you find a gospel-centered, humanitarian-based ministry they stand out like a major bright light. 

Here are a few reasons we're impressed: They love Jesus and it permeates their actions and words in the ordinary happenings of their ministry, you find your faith being built up as you listen to their joy in following Him even at great cost to themselves, they accomplish a lot with the little they have, they LOVE Haitians, they live amongst the people and have established real relationships within their community through the years, they understand the dangers of dependency and purpose to not slip into that M.O., their compassion doesn't replace dignity, their Haitian staff is happy and they obviously have an appreciation and respect for each other, the children in their care are not super needy but mostly content as their bodies heal and finally, they openly declare their purpose for doing what they do...[[God has asked us to do this. He provides. All glory to His Name.]] 

They have a huge project ahead of them that they desperately need. They are really out of space. We've seen it. We've visited them quite a few times. They are the real deal! Maybe you're looking for a place to plug in and help. Give here! Whole heartedly! We're happy to recommend them! :)