Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hurry Up and Wait

That phrase seems to be the story of my life these past couple of weeks. My personality is one that just doesn't find waiting very easy to do. There has been so much on my heart and its driving me crazy not to be able to do anything about the situations. I have learned a lot about prayer- I know intellectually that it is more powerful than the actual doing. Just have a hard time seeing it as action and being content to wait.

As new life, new vision, and new hope has been rebirthed into my heart and soul- I am ready to go. I am ready to obey. I am ready to move forward. The thing is that the Lord has given me this vision and its so close I can almost touch it. But he has asked me to be patient and to wait.

Seriously, that is the hardest thing to do. As I seek Him each morning and share my heart with Him I feel this conflict of waiting and doing. It is like a silence between here and now and the future. I don't really now what he is doing or going to do. And that drives me crazy! And brings me to tears...I go to Him with begging words- Its not fast enough, I want to go now, how much longer until we get there???

So as I was pouring my heart to Him over this frustration, the Lord led me to today's reading in My Utmost for His Highest. I have to laugh at how real and personal our God is! He never ceases to amaze me! So here is the reading:

Vision and Darkness:

Whenever God gives a vision to a saint, He puts him, as it were, in the shadow of His hand, and the saint's duty is to be still and listen. There is a darkness which comes from excess of light, and then is the time to listen. When God gives a vision and darkness follows, wait. God will make you in accordance with the vision he has given if you will wait his time. Never try and help God fulfill His word.
Read this paragraph this morning in my quiet time and wanted to share it:
" No matter how difficult our struggles or how deep our wounds, they carry with them great lessons. They teach us much about ourselves, life, and God. They enrich us in ways that nothing else can. They give us patience to endure, the maturity to grow, the compassion to reach out to others in need, the courage to survive, the character to transform something terribly hurtful into something positive, and the faith to know that we are not alone. " from The Wounded Woman by Dr. Steve Stephens and Pam Vredevelt

"Pain nourishes courage. You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you." Mary Tyler Moore

I hope to write more soon...there has been a lot on my mind lately. Lots that has been left unsaid especially pertaining to Jonathan. Just trying to process what the Lord is telling me.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

An update from Haiti
Please continue to pray for these dear friends as they minister to the hurting people of Haiti. If you feel led to give, please consider giving to their ministry.

From Debbie Lucien:

January 17th Haiti Earthquake Update
Today is a day we are beginning to see more and more miracles and survivor stories. We are seeing more people who have been able to leave Port au Prince and make it here to the provinces. One young man is named Dieufort (literally “God is strong”). He grew up in our community and was the first in his family to finish high school through our ministry child sponsorship program. His sponsor had also wanted to help him finish college so he was in Port au Prince enrolling last week in a computer science program. Last night he told me his uncle’s house where he was staying had been destroyed and he had bit hit on the head. Over the past 4 days he made his way back here. As we sat by the candlelight in my house last night eating a meal of boiled plantain together, he shared with us all the horrors he had seen and experienced. Yet this morning, I saw him limping up the hill, returning to his work as a Sunday school teacher to help encourage the children.
Imagine the weeping and praises as we gathered in church this morning to worship God. One family, that of Pastor Eli Onne, one of the worship leaders, gathered together to sing a song for the church. In tears, they shared how 6 of the young adult children were in Port au Prince to attend school and work and were all living together. Their house was one of the few in their neighborhood not destroyed. Pastor Eli had gone two days after the earthquake to find if they were dead or alive. Today he stood with them all in church thanking God that he wasn’t having six funerals instead.
Following this, my brother-in-law, Jephthe Lucien, asked all those who had come from Port au Prince in the last few days to come forward so we could rejoice that they were alive and also to pray for those still in great need. All of us are beginning to plan for how to care for the increasing number of refugees appearing to see how we help. Immediate needs will be food, clothing, and housing. In the coming days we’ll tell you where to ship gathered supplies.
Caleb has been in Cap Haitien (Haiti’s second largest city) in the north coordinating relief supplies coming in. He’s had 4-5 flights each day of supplies headed different directions as he’s coordinating with Dr. Claude Surena, Haiti’s designated coordinator of relief. (Yeah for those Rotary contacts!)
Besides staying busy with that, Caleb has been distributing practical help on the ground as he finds it. As he delivered medical supplies to Hopital Justien in Cap Haitien he noticed the physicians and staff appeared exhausted and asked when was the last time they’d eaten? The medical director replied they hadn’t had the opportunity to stop. Thus Caleb headed to LaKay Restaurant where they prepare good food relatively quickly and purchased 50 meals for all the staff. When he came back with the food, the staff could hardly believe it and were very appreciative. He left funds with the restaurant which will continue to deliver for the next two days. The owner said he’ll pick up after that for a day or two and then see who else can help. It’s a small thing perhaps, but important none the less.
The mayors of Cap Haitien had sent school buses to pick up as many as possible to relocate survivors to the city here in the north. Caleb found out about it and spent $1,500 so the travelers could find a meal as they disembarked. Again, perhaps a small thing, but a practical need for those who haven’t eaten in several days.
We want you to know the resources you are sending us are being distributed quickly and as wisely as possible. Opportunities for medical volunteers and later for construction will open up but we need to plan wisely. Dr. Surena is already coordinating with those hospitals still standing around the country as to which locations need what help. We want to make sure we send people to where they can be utilized. We will keep you posted.
One last image to make you smile. This is the photo of two children (Shashu & Kiki) who arrived in Pignon yesterday. They told me that they were playing on their porch when the whole house started shaking. “Everything in the house fell to the ground!”
They spent the next three days and nights on the street. Their parents sent them to our community for safety. Their mother is a lab technician who is staying behind to help for now. These are just some of the stories and images around us. Thanks for continuing to pray!
We are humbled and grateful to see gifts coming in to help. It is getting exciting to see how we can move forward more and more and plan how to serve those around us!
Debbie Lucien for all

Friday, January 15, 2010

Years ago, my sister and I went on a mission trip to Haiti. The missionaries we lived and ministered with are still there today. The town that they live in was not affected by the earthquake. But they have immediately begun reaching out to the Haitian people in the affected areas. I am excited about the opportunity to help them in this effort because I know that they will be offering the hurting people more than the urgent help, they will be offering them the Living Water. I just wanted to pass along this link to their ministry website and the following letter from Debbie Lucien, my missionary friend in Haiti, just in case any of you might feel led to send funds to help them out.

Letter from Debbie (her husband Caleb went immediately to Port-Au- Prince to assist in evacuation and rescue efforts) :

We are okay.
I just heard from Caleb. He arrived in Port au Prince and said the conditions are indescribeable.
Just to give you ideas, estimates on loss of life right now are approaching 250,000-half a million.
He says bodies of 20-30 people are piled up and noone is even stopping to pick them up because there is no where to take them.
It is horrible.
Last night he slept in his car and is trying to bring back some people here today. We have a group of Americans here right now and are trying to decide how to get them out. There are no commercial flights in and out of Haiti, the only way in is through the DR for anyone other than military aid workers.
8 hours ago · Comment · Like · See Wall-to-Wall

What we are doing: 1. Caleb is arriving back here today with some evacuees. 2. We are preparing to house as many as we can (now I know why God gave me such a BIG new house-smile) 3. We can house us to several thousand here, we are preparing by getting drinking water ready,e tc. We need funding to buy sleeping pads and food for them. There is a water filtration system in town which will provide water. The local hospital here is already receiving injured from the capital. Those who can walk or travel are coming here. We are planning at present to put evacuees at the camp, at the school, wherever we can find place. 4. Please continue to pray for wisdom and strength for Caleb 4.5- Jephthe left this morning to help with evacuations and meet Caleb. 5. We are fine! 6. Some cell phone service started working again today, although it is intermittent. Pray for calm as people begin to hear who has died. It is very disheartening. 7. Pray we can continue to be a light. The Christians here know we have survived to be here for such a time as this. WE love you guys. Please pass the message along and continue to pray for all of us. Debbie

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Incredible MRI Results!!!
If you follow me on facebook you have already heard the news. But for those of you who aren't on there...Jon's latest MRI results show significant shrinkage. I hope to write soon and in more detail regarding all that has transpired over the past few days. Needless to say we are all quite shocked and thanking God for all that he does.

As you can tell the picture on top shows a smaller tumor. The tumor is the white circle in the middle.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

From Come Away My Beloved Devotional:
Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Matthew 6:33

Resign all into My hands - your loved ones as well as your own self. Be obedient to the still small voice. Your own imagination may speak more loudly, but wait upon Me always. You will always see the wisdom of this in due time.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Random Thoughts for Today

This is just a collection of thoughts that I had this morning that I don't want to loose...and wanted to share in case it encourages someone else as well.

1. From the book, " The Wounded Woman" by Dr. Steve Stephens and Pam Vredevelt in the chapter titled Good Grief it says,
" God is the One who knows all the details and is best equipped to lead you along this foreign path into brighter new beginnings. Self- Reliance will mislead you. God won't. He makes this promise:
" I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. There are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. " Isaiah 42:16
Your pain is not a problem. It is a solution. The grief you have experienced- or still endure- is a driving force. The emotional energy generated by that grief is what will press you to examine yourself, your worldview, and your beliefs in God, and eventually enable you to change, adapt, grow, and move through the valley of the shadows and out the other side, back into the sunlight.
Grief isn't the road to healing. Grief is the road of healing. And it is familiar territory for Jesus.
He is fully aware of your heartache and knows the way through your suffering. The operative word is through. You won't feel desperate forever. You have God's guarantee on this: I will restore you to health and heal your wounds declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 30:17)
Desperation is productive if it drives us to God. It presents us with opportunities to watch God display His grace and power. It gives us a chance to just stand back a little and witness God doing what man can not do. It allows us to experience God becoming whatever we need Him to be as He escorts us along the path of healing. We come to know Him as our God of Comfort. Our Strength. Our Shield. Our Security. Our Safe Place. Our Peace."

2. From Come Away My Beloved by Frances Roberts:
"Tarry not for an opportunity to have more time to be alone with me. Take it though you leave tasks at hand. Nothing will suffer. Things are of less importance than you think.
I love you, and if you can always, as it were, feel my pulse beat, you will receive insight that will give you sustaining strength. I bore your sins and I wish to carry your burdens. Lay your head upon my breast and lose yourself in me."

This devotional meant so much to me this morning. Truly, it has been in my Savior's arms with my head upon his chest that he has given me strength and images that have imparted peace to my aching heart. Even now, he tenderly loves me and ministers to me in that quiet time alone with did I ever make it through the day without this special time without him?

3. From " Streams in the Desert"- My favorite devotional of all time!
Remind God of his exclusive responsibility- There is no one like you to help! (2 Chronicles 14:11. Abraham believed God (Romans 4:3) and said to his eyes, "stand back!", To laws of
nature, " Hold your peace!" and to an unbelieving heart, " Silence, you lying tempter!" He
simply believed God.

4. The Lord is with me like a mighty warrior. Jeremiah 20:11

And lastly, songs that really ministered to me this morning.

Revelation by Third Day

Love Heals Your Heart by Third Day

He Is by Mark Schultz

One Heartbeat at a Time by Steven Curtis Chapman

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Courageously Standing on the Edge

The new year has found me standing precariously on the edge of the unknown. There is no way back. Wild emotions rage around me. Fear, pain, tears, and anger join the brewing storm as it threatens to engulf me. No matter what direction I look there are dark, ominous clouds. Even going forward promises to meet with strong wind, pounding rain and countless heartache.

Forward is the only option. Backwards just can't be done. I have tried. I have grown weary trying to retrace my steps. My heart has twisted in agony as I entertained the thoughts of what if I had gone a different path, what if I had not chosen this journey at all. I can't change what has happened. I can't change what will happen. I can only press on through the storm to find the one who waits for me at the end.

Truth is that he is not only waiting for me at the end. He is walking beside me, cheering me on. He is leading me through the treacherous path because he has walked this way before and has prepared the place where my feet will pass. And on those days when fear overwhelms, exhaustion sets in, and the tears are blinding He lifts me up into his strong arms and cradling me to his chest carries me on to the other side.

That is where I have spent the past three days. Clinging to the one who holds me close to his heart. In the arms of the only one who can shelter my bruised heart from the raging storm. Only here in his arms, resting my head on his shoulder like a trusting infant can I hear the truth he so gently whispers to my heart. Of course there have been numerous times in the past couple of days when I climbed out of the safety of those arms and felt the sting of the storm as it left me disillusioned and angry at my Lord. Lashing out at him in anger, screaming the painful lies that have held me in bondage- kept me from those loving arms.

What a gentle lover the Lord is. Able to see beyond the bitter words, he speaks into my broken, crushed heart and calls me to come. He holds me while I fight against him, holds me when I finally break, holds me while the tears fall. He holds me. In the end that is all that really matters. No matter the intensity of the storm, no matter the pain, no matter how many tears fall- none of it can stop the Savior from holding me.

I really don't know what this new year holds. New Years Eve brought a little glimpse of what might be in store. Jonathan's brain is just not working the way it should be. We will find out in a couple of days if the tumor has begun to grow or not. Regardless of the outcome, the reality is that his brain is just not going to get better. For the first time on New Year's Eve, a doctor gave me permission to choose what makes Jonathan happy and comfortable and not necessarily what will "fix" him. After a week of taking temps, documenting every weird symptom, I was encouraged to instead watch my he happy, is he coloring and able to do what he likes?
Then stay home and let him be happy and comfortable. So after much prayer and thought, my focus is changing from fighting to keep Jon alive to fighting to give him a life fully lived.

This of course has brought on so many thoughts...

First, my desire is to make this year a new adventure. To live each day fully and intentionally. Jon may have years left with us...but living like today could be the last will not be something I will regret should he surprise us all. There are so many things to experience together as a family. So much to be learned and explored. I don't want to get caught up in the stupid things that distract us from what is most important.

That thought led me into another important thing that the Lord reminded me of on Friday as I scoured my old journals to be reminded of the ways the Lord has worked in my life. I was reminded that as we follow the Lord he may ask us to do things that don't make sense to others and that others may totally oppose what we are doing. We have to know fully what the Lord has spoken to us and not let go of that no matter what.

I found this in my journal from September 4, 1993 and it is an excerpt from a book written by perhaps my most favorite person of all time: Amy Carmichael (from the book or writing entitled " One Step at a Time" )
You and I maybe called again and again to walk right into our own "rivers". Whatever they may be- to wet our feet in them. We may be called to do what nobody understands except those to whom the word of guidance is given- and with it his promise too. But understand this: The word must come first and also his promise. You and I must be sure of what we are called to do with an inward conviction that absolutely nothing can shake. In my own case, again and again, I have had to wet my feet in the water... only God and those who have walked in that path know how hard that kind of faith life can be. But He does know. And when the people around us don't hear the words and and the voice that we have heard, and only say, " It thunders..." then he comes near and we know him as we never knew him before....If only the next step is clear, then the one thing to do it take it! Don't pledge your Lord or yourself to any steps beyond what you know. You don't see them yet.

There are somethings on my heart that don't make sense to others...even those closest to me. But I will choose to cling to what I know the Lord has spoken to my heart. A dear friend reminded me of this the other night. He spoke of putting up my shield of faith when those thoughts of doubt, guilt, condemnation come. I find it quite funny that the very next day after he said that I found an outline to a bible study I taught about the shield of faith.

Here is a glimpse into this study...

Roman Shields were 2 feet by 4 feet and a soldier could hide completely behind it. It was made of wood and then covered with cloth and leather. It was then dipped in water to extinguish fiery darts. ( Metaphorically, the word of God is the water that our hearts and minds are bathed in to distinguish the darts)

The shield protects us from fiery darts. Darts are often thrown when things are great and we are not relying on the Lord. Some of these darts are:
Fear- allowing it to linger causes it to spread and destroy out faith
Doubt- about God, questioning our faith, about other people and ourselves
Words- attacking our will, our mind, our heart, and our conscience
When properly used and in place- the shield will protect us from all darts.

This is my favorite part of the shield- they were designed to lock together with those shield's of other soldiers. Together the shields would create a barrier wall and great strength. Sometimes we are wounded in battle and forget to take shelter under the shield of faith. How great that the Lord has given us other people to stand beside us, lock their shields with us, and stay with us until we are able to stand again.

So I am choosing to hide behind my shield of faith, allowing it to distinguish the darts flying fiercely toward me right now.

I know this is a random collection of thoughts and if you are still reading I am quite impressed!!! I just didn't want to loose any of the memorial stones the Lord is giving me right now as this journey begins.