Thursday, 30 August 2012

Filling this Vapor of Time

This wispy thing we call time has had me in knots the past week or so which has shoved blogging back, not even to the back burner, but to the back of the freezer where you put that soup last year that you knew would be so delicious heated up again....might want to rethink that....

Yes, and as 10:30 quickly approaches, I have still yet to figure out this issue of time, but have finally realised that going to bed before 11:00 pm most assures me that the pain (yes, I said pain...as in physical) of waking up earlyish is not as great as when I go to bed at 2:00 am. I know, I'm terribly slow at learning some things...well, ok most things.

So here I will leave you with the blessed experience of what has been filling this vapor of time here at the Pope house. I'm sure you can relate...and appreciate...thanks for stopping by....


 
These are only a fraction of the staples that Justin (he's my favourite...and not just b/c he pulled out his fare share of staples) and I pulled out of our kitchen table chairs while reupholstering them...yes, just a fraction...holy staples!!
 
 
Before: total ick!

 
After: Happy B-day to me!
 
 
This is what delicious looks like!
 
 
Cook books, and flour and dirty rice cookers...OH MY!
 
 
I have conceded, waived my white flag: Never, ever will I solve the many cup mystery. On the other hand we did discover that yellow watermelon is scrumptious.
 
 
Settlers and Indians: thank you for providing many hours of entertainment to the littlest boy to the biggest.
 
 
Besties
 
 
 
Reading along for another astounding adventure with Jack and Annie in their Magic Tree House.
 
 
Yes, this is my overflowing laundry basket. Mostly this is for my children so I can actually prove to them how much laundry they create. I do think they will forget...and maybe I will too... I want to remember what God has helped us all do together and that includes the laundry. :0)
 
 


Sweet Smiles
 
 

 
 
 
 
...and, by HIS grace, counting it all joy...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, 20 August 2012

Abounding

Though unusually long days out of the house were more normal than I would have liked and I did not, no did not get up but once in seven days to spend time alone with the Lord, this idea of abounding with love with real knowledge and discernment to approve what is excellent has been marinating around in my mind and heart.

 Thank you Lord, for you abound in grace...though my life is busy and I fail....

So we did this activity with the kids to show them just what overflowing, abounding, superabounding looks like...only we used some bubbles and food colouring. Sometimes it's the simple things in life isn't it?!






As the bubbles overflowed, we chatted (or at least tried to) about our prayers for them. We asked questions like: What is real knowledge? and What is discernment? and Why would Paul pray these things for other believers? and Why would we pray these things for them...for friends...for family?







Yes, it is the simple isn't it? Our kids loved doing this activity (which I found here), though, I'm not sure anything really stuck (I never am really sure about that), but still we are faithful, by God's grace most days, to sew the seed and trust the Lord to reap the harvest....

639. 30 years, thank you Lord for 30 years
640. a fantastic date night with my best friend
641. trying a new restaurant
642. feeling forgotten and remembering Who never forgets
643. that dimple on that ornery little boy
644. looking up words to find deeper meaning
645. taking pictures
646. I once was lost, but now am found...was blind, but now I see
647. prayers to abound...thank you Lord, the God who is able
648. reading about another's walk with the Lord
649. birthday well wishes, cards, kind words, blessing abound! thank you dear ones






Friday, 17 August 2012

Ore to Shore 2012

48 miles of mountian bike trails. Sound fun??? Crazy??? Both, is what I say. Here's to my Ol' Man (yes, he'll be 30 in about a month) the 48 miles he rode with his friend, Paul oh and that horse fly that bit him along the way.


Just starting out....


It's gonna be a looooonnnnnggggg ride folks!



Way to go Love! I guess the guy that told you to expect to get into a crash or fall off your bike at least once in this race was wrong-o, well at least this year....





Monday, 13 August 2012

Contentment, Peace, Joy: Where are you?

Hold on to your pants because it's about to get, whelp hairy...and not the open shirt so we can see your chest hair kind. No, not even that good. How can that ever be good, you may be thinking. Never. Never is that good. And this heavy, weighty feeling of conviction is never a good feeling either. (see aren't you glad that I lead in with a joke about hair?...Ok, I'll quit joking...it's getting a bit awkward around here isn't it??!)

Seriously, I say these things. Yes, all the time I'm saying them. I mean they do come out of my brain and down into my finger tips as I type them, so maybe I don't say them aloud to you, but yes, I do type them. And here they are. These are the things I say, well at least a few of them. And I say them, well a lot.

~ Being a wife and/or a mother is a high and holy calling.

~ What you do as a wife and/or mother matters...a lot. Like change the world a lot.

~ Bending low in service is hard. It's hard to be an example to a world that likes to exalt itself or themselves.

~ Open hands, to what the Lord has for us as wives and moms is good and right. He is good and right...always.

~These things that we do in this thing we call being a wife and/or mother is in many ways and in many times out of an overflowing...and outpouring even, of gratitude towards our Savior.

~ Above all I want to bend low that Christ will be exalted...magnified even.

                                                                                    And then last night I watched this....



Bring Love In - Uniting widows and orphans to create new families in Ethiopia from Levi Benkert on Vimeo.


                                                           and I was convicted.

 My fingers type one thing and my heart believes another. Did you catch it, near the end? What the widowed Beletu, turned mother now to these 6-8 orphaned children said? What was it she said? "Some preach.... Some sing.... I Mother. It is what I do." For some reason in my mind and heart (more importantly) I have elevated some of what others do (preach, sing, missionary work, adopt kids from other countries, start incredible mission organisations, work with at risk youth, pack up their lives and move to Africa etc....the list could go on...and on) above that of which a wife and/or a mother does. Some how I have come to see some "work" for the Lord as more important than other.

Paul says much about this in 2 Corinthians and God led me to read it again with fresh eyes. Here it is starting in verse 14: " For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot says, "Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, "Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body. " You see, we all work together, are called to different "jobs" by the Father. None is more important than the other...just different.  This truth I know, yet do not live.

This too convicts me....
What I realised also last night is this: I too, am a glory stealer. You see I've been reading and studying through Philippians which is often called the book about joy. Because of this is does propel one to ponder with in their heart about where exactly they get joy. This I have done. And do you know what I found? Do you know where my joy comes from? You! Well, maybe not you particularly, but in general my joy comes from people and what they think of me. Yeah, I know...ouch!

And I read things like this from Philippians 1:8-11: "For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." 

 Do you catch it right there at the end? Not what Paul is praying for, but why he prays these things? He is not praying them so that they may exalt themselves for a bit or so that people will think they're really great or even so that maybe their unbelieving friends will ask why they are so kind, generous, loving etc. No!  He wants them to abound (overflow) with love which comes from knowledge and discernment through Jesus Christ to be pure and blameless and here it is....the why....
                                            
                                  to the glory and praise of God.....


  There is this part of me what wants to do these "big" works for the Lord. I am eager to shirk off the "American Dream" and to do something big. I do linger long on these thoughts and feelings of doing something, anything for Him. There is this long list running in my mind, but no where is found being a wife or a mother...not even at the bottom. And it's not that I think these desires are wrong. No it's the motives of my heart that are wrong. Doing things for the Lord, big or not, because of that pats on the back, or likes and comments on facebook, or a comment on our blog is not what Paul would call pure and blameless. See I told you it was going to get hairy around here (maybe honest is a better word.) This is hard to type, but it is true. 

 Often times I type that which I do not live. 

Funny thing is though, about asking God for things: when you ask God to search your heart and to reveal it to you he answers you. I have been asking for awhile and have not heard and I have not heard because I have not been in his Word regularly for a long season.

You see,  lingering long in my own thoughts...my own feelings and not lingering long IN his Word this produces discontentment, sadness, feelings of not measuring up to others, a critical spirit, pride even. 

And this too grieves me much. 

Here is the good news though (and yes, with the Lord there is always good news) studying and being intentional about reading the Word of life it also has produced....

                     contentment.....peace.....JOY...... 

And so, no we may never be missionaries in the jungle of Africa. We might just pray always for the ones that are there and the ones we know serving else where. We may never adopt orphans. We may only support them from afar from ministries like Compassion Internationl and Children's Hungar Fund. We may never start some mission organisation or feed the hungry in some other place other than where we are at. But there is a chance we could do those things too...Lord willing. We might be a military family wandering this wide world together, homeschooling our 4 for as long as the Lord allows. Who knows?! God does. He does. And this I know for sure today....

he is good, he is faithful, long suffering and kind. He forgives my EVERY indescrection (and yours too...if you only ask) .....and I choose to trust in him...and to find Him in his word today.....

Gracious and Merciful Father....in brokenness I seek you. Thank you for sending your Son to die for me so that I may find forgiveness in you. Forgiveness for stealing your glory....for planning with out you...for forgetting that it is you who wills....for finding contentment and joy in others opinions and not yours....for neglecting you in prayer and in your word. Thank you that I am not alone...that you do not leave me alone, but have given me a gift and allowed me to receive him alone as my Lord and Savior. May my life be a fragrant aroma to you of gratitued and thanksgiving, never wanting anything in return, for you Father, have already given me All.... ~amen...in Jesus name...amen

626. forgivness
627. finding truth in His Word
627. his matchless grace leading to repentence
628. this chastisement known as convection never feels good but is a reminder that He disiplines whom he loves
629. my Love, finishing the 48 mile "Ore to Shore" mountain bike ride in about 3 1/2 hours!!
630. hugs in the morning and a Love that wants to give them to me even when I have not showered...yet
631. one little boy saying, "elp, peese, Momma" Yes, finally starting to put words together
632. getting up earlyish
633. coffee, yes this is needed for those of us that get up earlyish
634. watching the kids dance, video taping the whole thing...and watching them watch themselves...and laugh...HARD!
635. brothers snuggling
636. one big sister who has lots of excuses to sleep in the same room as those brothers of hers
637. progress on the road work outside, yes maybe the beeping will stop before the snow comes!
638. almost 30...yes, that's me 5 more days of 29!!!!








Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Best Parts are also the Hard Parts



This life of wondering around this wide world as an Air Force family is full of best parts of our lives. Seeing the world, different cultures, all these people that God created on earth and marvelling at the different languages. This life in the military, it forces us to lean in to Christ and each other. There is no choice in this. Do it or be miserable.

And here we are in the best and worst part of this season. "Where are we going today? Are we going anywhere, Mom?" she begs. But this I know she is stating that which echos in my heart, "I want a friend." Yes, she has friends...many actually, but not that friend. Not here in Marquette, not yet at least. You know the one (or few) that you are thinking of as I type and you read.

These sweet friends, for us, are all over the globe who are chasing hard after Christ (or wanting to know what that is), failing miserably, asking for forgiveness and wanting to be loved. They serve. They laugh. They weep with us and carry us through those times in life that are laid fast and heavy with burdens by praying for us and with us. They help point you to what really matters. They are priceless.

Paul says it this way in Philippians (1:3): "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.


What brought Paul joy was those times of remembrance of the brothers and sisters in Christ in Philippi.
                        We know this well.  

It is remembering that little church in Iowa who loves hard and earnestly contends for the faith. Its a family taking us in an teaching us about Christ: who he is, what he did, and what the word doctrine means while feeding our bellies and our soul and laughing hard with us (and sometimes shooting at squirrels.) This friend, she taught me to quilt and to cook and about truth. My husband thanks her the most. :)

It's the man who invested in my Love, who shared the gospel that fell on fresh news. He lead him and taught my Love to lead. This man, he baptised us both. We are thankful. We are humbled.

It's the first friend I had, ever, who I could tell confess anything to and she would never make me feel less or ashamed. This friend, she still challenges me. Oh, how I wish we could get coffee and chat.

It's covering others in prayer and being there for friends in need. It's seeing a broken friend come to Christ. "I'm just going to quit trying, Kari. I'm just going to trust God to change my husband... to change me." This I hope I never forget.

Then there is that silence. That deafening silence that really was for a time defining in that country across the ocean. There. Were. No. Friends. Only each other and Christ again and a strange language and culture. And my faith, well it was faithless for awhile... not even a mustard seed. The winds of change came and my heart hardened in cynicism and judgement even.

But God, he is faithful. He is the giver of this thing we call friendship. And I remember thanking for him for the one that I prayed for and for the other ones he would generously give above and beyond anything we could ask for ever. I asked for one and he gave us a whole group of faithful followers of Christ being molded into his truth.

For the ones we would meet with weekly. Each family growing in grace. Each family place in our "medium" group for such a time as it was. All those lovely, loud and restless children. This was grace upon grace and we so undeserved to have a family like that. Each of you creating the body of Christ. Each of us at different places in our walk. Each of us loving well....most of the time....and forgiving when we did not.

The men here were real. More real than we've ever been around. This was good for my Love. It was good to hear that they too, were not perfect. It was them that offered listening ears when God felt far away and the distance between him and I was literally thousands of miles and more. Thank you.

The man that would run with my Love. Not always agreeing, but always challenging him to think. Is this really what I believe. And his lovely family, game nights, children...there were many, laughing often together. Them always letting us borrow the charcoal starter. This is the definition of  a good neighbour. :) Challenges are often opportunities in disguise. These friends we miss dearly.



For the one who would so challenge me, again to look at homeschooling from yet, another angle. She would be there at every turn. And pray. I know she prayed...she still prays.  She taught me by living and speaking truth. She does this well.  And I marvel at what Christ has done in her life.

That baby, oh how she cried. A lot. And that friend, she called and sometimes she cried and I did too. And her family grew and so did mine. And this friend she is special and lovely and knows more and prays more and always points me to Christ. Her honesty is special.

 BBQs with loud children, camping under the stars and praying that it NOT rain, dirty tracks into the Edelweiss pool, wondering loudly about life, tight walking ropes high up, taking in all that beauty together, getting our feelings hurt and remembering really, we love each other, big boys jumping on the trampoline with the little ones getting hurt. These, all of them, make me smile. These ladies, these Security Forces wives I lived life with in that strange and wonderful land overflowing with greenery and trees, they loved me well.

                         And these parts, they are the best parts....and the hard parts.....

                                                                                       because starting over is never easy......



And it seems that when the winds of change come in the military we always wish we would have known that neighbour better. We would have had that couple over more often from church. We do grieve the relationships that we did not pursue hard enough when it comes time to leave...the things we did not say....the time we did not give.

But we can, we do say along with Paul, "We thank our God in every remembrance of you.....all of you...."



616. the hard and best parts of remembering
617. sweet new friends we are making here
618. church family: seeing others sacrifice on other's behalf: this is friendship
619. Mary-Jane: a wonderful sunday school teacher
620. walks to the library
621. God's unwaivering, convicting, longsuffering, loving grip
622. friends: taking a scary leap of faith together
623. a surprise call from a dear friend! made. my. day.
624. laughing hard: a youtube party with my Love
625. waiting on the Lord, not easy...but thankfully we are learning to do this


                                           




Thursday, 2 August 2012

Lay Us Low










Thank you PicMonkey for always making my pictures look beautiful. Thank you Christa Wells and Nicole Whitt for this deep and thoughtful prose that has me on my knees especially as I study Philippians with a dear friend. Thank you Jesus for molding us to be more like you....