Saturday, July 25, 2015

Thy word is a lamp...

Today we spent 4 hours writing some of our favorite Bible verses all over our new house.

It was so special to see the children finding the ones that meant a lot to them personally and writing them.




















Friday, July 24, 2015

ZhenAi.

We are days away from the home study being completed and we were just approved for a cool way to raise money. It's just a donation site but there are no fees at all (gofundme is really high) and all donated dollars are sent right to our adoption agency on our behalf annddddd it's tax deductible!

Here's the link.

Thank you for caring and being a part of ZhenAi Poppy's story and her way home.

http://adoptionbridge.org/families/help-bring-zhenai-poppy-home/

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

But...what about Jeremiah 29:11...?

Last Saturday was gorgeous.  As in...it was finally less than 100 degrees and it was cloudy! It's so rarely cool and cloudy here in the summer. We live in the desert!

Dean decided to go working on the house so we packed up (I got to wear jeans and a sweater!) and met him out at the land.  We stayed out all day...it was wonderful.

A few days ago, I was looking at Dean's pictures of the house and saw this photo. I was so glad he had snapped a pic, without us knowing, of this moment.


I love deep conversations. And this was one of them.  I started it. I started talking about death.  Tirzah spoke up right away and said "Mommy I don't want to talk about this, can we talk about something else?" and I caught something in her voice...her expression so I asked if she would talk about it.  

I firmly believe one of the greatest responsibilities I have as a parent (aside from teaching them about Jesus) is to prepare them for life.  

Talking about the hard things.  

So...I mentioned the unthinkable.  I said "ok...what happens if Nazara was diagnosed with cancer and dies. Then what. What do we believe...?  How do we trust God through that...?"

It was a hard conversation. It's not easy for me to go there...let alone our kids.  It was Tirzah's question that got this conversation going.  She looked at me and said "ok. Ok this is what I'm thinking.  If that happened...then what about Jeremiah 29:11?  Did God not have plans for her? Good plans? I don't get it..."  Ahhh.  So good.

I looked up.  

I saw this amazing, breathtaking view from the main floor of our new, under construction house.  I pointed to a field. A field that in and of itself...is just another field. I asked the kids what they saw. They said "ummm a field." I asked if they were down there, IN the field. What would they see. Someone spoke up "weeds. Bugs. Snakes. Just...a field."  I asked if they would see beauty there. "ummm no, definitely not."  Would they see an incredible view...? "no."

I then looked back at these beautiful little people, all watching my every move. How would I answer this tough question...? Let's be honest...children are amazing. They ask what we all think...and lack the courage to ask.

You know you've wondered the same thing.  Where's the beauty here, Lord?  Where's your "only good" purpose in this loss...? This trial...? This pain...? 

I then pulled their attention to our view.  What do you see from up here? They started "ahhh it's so beautiful. The rolling fields. The yellow, green, brown. The hills. The mountains. The vineyards, orchards...it's just so ... beautiful."  

Would you see any of that if you were sitting down in that field...?

No. 

That's it.  When we are in loss...pain...devestation...that's all we see.  

We can't see this view. Yet, God always does.  This is His view.  He can see what's right ahead. He can see the beauty in the full view.  

We talked about Miss Kara. How is there any good in her death? 38 years old. Wife. Mommy of 4.  Good plans...God...?  I talked to them about how many people have come to Jesus BECAUSE of her cancer journey and death. Because of her faith. 

Full view.  Beauty.

Seeing that click in each child's mind was so incredible.

Yes. Let's talk about Jeremiah 29:11.  

I thought about my friend Nichole.  Her son was born with a rare condition and his life was hard. So much sickness. So much pain. So much hospital.  And then, too short...his precious life ended. Beauty...? Good plans...God...? 

I have had the amazing pleasure of seeing Nichole now years later. Her beautiful son Noah is whole. He's in Heaven and completely whole. Healed. Perfect.  

I can see Jeremiah 29:11 in Nichole. And her children.  They love and serve so many children with special needs.  They are so hands on with Make A Wish foundation.

Why...?

Because of Noah.  

Full view.

While in the pain...in the loss...we only see the field. It's hard. It's full of weeds. And the pain is overwhelming. 

Jeremiah 29:11...? Not. Quite.

Yes...His plans are good. For you.  He sees the full picture and there IS beauty here.  Yes...for little Noah too. He's whole! He's in Heaven and his little body is healed.

This was a moment I will remember forever. This moment.  Sitting on the main floor of our new house. With children bold and honest enough to ask what many of us have thought...but would never ask.  

Ok. If He's always good...and if Jeremiah 29:11 is true...what about the little children that die of cancer? What about the mom who dies? The dad?  How do you answer that, Mommy?

Full view.  God sees the beauty beyond the hard of this current field.  He sees what becomes of this pain.  



Thursday, July 9, 2015

Heaven.

Ok. Not really.

But...this is something that takes my breath away. I can't quite explain it.  Perhaps it's much more than the view itself...and more the fact that I recognize the gift it is.

The ocean...takes my breath away.

This view...it must be a small glimpse of what Heaven looks like.  Just must be. :)

The bottom floor of our house is done.  Now the stairs and floor of the top floor and tomorrow walls go up. We had to go out tonight to figure out the design of the bathroom...and as the sun set...I was in awe.  The darkness set in and all the lights in the valley lit up.

So very thankful.


Monday, July 6, 2015

The darker the dark...the lighter the light.

I've shared Zunduka's story several times.  Quiet. Astute.  Serious. Book loving, Zunduka.

Looking at him you would never know the trauma of his past.

The marks on his chest evidence just a bit of his story.  Witch doctors.  Voodoo.

Darkness.

Zunduka was home for a few years before he truly experienced freedom.  His quiet nature kept him in a bubble, rarely sharing his pain.

The awful visits he received every single night as he lay in bed, too terrified to move.

"I had a horrible dream...but I was not asleep" he would say.  Never quite understanding what he meant...until it occurred in OUR room.  With us as witnesses.

Maybe it's 'night terrors'. 'Childhood fears'.

Demonic?  Well we prayed over him and his room just in case but "have a good sleep".

Sadly.

Until the darkness so tangible in our room that same night that they all begged to have a sleepover in Mommy and Daddy's room.  I could feel a heaviness. It was so dark.  I could hardly catch my breath.  I screamed when Zunduka screamed.  I've never done that before.  When a child screams, you comfort them.  But that scream was different and as long as I live...I will never ever forget that night.

I knew...beyond the shadow of a doubt when he screamed and pointed to the invisible object in front him...that he was seeing it.  I had never prayed so authoritatively. Demanding the darkness flee though the power of Jesus.

Though we prayed, read and played worship music I was unconvinced it was gone.  And then it happened again.  But when it left...it was gone.  Truly gone.  The screams were so loud in our room that night yet not one of the other children stirred.  Interesting.

Fast forward to today.  He has never ever ever seen the "hand without a body attached" since that night.

Freedom.

The Zunduka of today is extraordinarily attached to the Bible.

Like...probably unlike any child or adult you have ever seen.

I have purchased every youth version I can get my hands on and he reads it cover to cover in less than a week. He's read the Action Bible the most and that's his favorite.  The Picture Bible and many others.

It's over 105 degrees outside, the children are playing with water guns and soccer balls...and Zunduka is sitting in the shade hanging on to every word of the Bible.

My parents were just here visiting and my Dad commented that this abnormal attachment to the Bible ...is likely connected to the darkness he came from.  The hold and power that had on his life for so long...has given him a thirst for the Light.

We have watched every episode of The Bible, A.D and he has many times sat there wiping his eyes.  I know no other way to say it...than simply...Zunduka wholeheartedly loves his Savior.

My dad (an evangelist)'s comment has stayed on my mind for the last week.  And ... it's got me thinking.

Perhaps...the darker the dark...the lighter the light.  When you are in the light...the light is just...well...light.  But in the dark...the light is everything.  Your eyes can't move off that flicker of a flame. It's all you see.  It is, by contrast, so very light.

As a missionary's daughter...someone who accepted Christ very young, this is so amazing to witness.

The hope and peace found in this book.  Not just any book. This Living book.  It has the power to transform ever part of your being.  This book...the Bible.

Zunduka has found a light so bright...he has latched on like nothing I've ever witnessed.

Perhaps we truly comprehend light...once we have seen the darkness.  There's no doubt in my mind...the darker the dark...the lighter the light.



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Don't make decisions in March.

A few years ago, Dean's friend's life ended in suicide. It was devastating.  In every sense of the word.

We went to the funeral and the man's brother spoke.  He said "don't make decisions in March.  March can be a rough month...but the sun starts shining in April and flowers bloom..and everything changes."

You don't know how many times Dean and I have said to each other "don't make decisions in March".  You need to make decisions when things are going well. When you do see clearly. Decisions that can carry you through the times irrationality takes over.  

It has been on my mind a lot this month.  For many reasons.  One of them may be for you.

Perhaps June is a "March" for you.

Please...don't make decisions in March.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Just...sad.

I've often gotten asked what I think of all the "racial" happenings with police officers across America today.

I, as you know, do have 2 black children.  I also...by the way...have 6 white children and 2 asian children.

What I believe... goes across the racial divide.

I DO believe there is still racial profiling today. No question. I DON'T believe that's always the case.

I don't teach my children they will be mistreated for their color...I do teach them to respect authorities. Always.

Isn't that where this comes down?  I mean...if any of my children...regardless of color...did what some of these kids do to police officers or anyone in authority...I would be mortified.  Because that would reflect on me and what I've taught them.

I think it's sad.  The whole thing is sad.  The lack of plain-and-simple PARENTING today is sad.  The lack of respect for authority today...is just sad.  The fact that police officers are afraid to do their job today for fear of being accused of racial profiling...is sad.  Right and Wrong goes across the racial divide.  Doesn't it...?

That's what we teach our children.  Some may treat you differently...but you are responsible...for YOU.

If one of my children hits another...and the other hits back....who gets disciplined?

Both.

You are responsible...for YOU.

Yes he hit you...and he will be disciplined for that.  And you hit him.  And that was the wrong choice.  So you will also be disciplined for that.  `

Just recently I was talking to the 6 older children and reminding them they can do whatever they want. One particular child looked at me and said "Really??"as he lit up.  Yes, I assured him.  Whatever you want.  Obey...disobey...it's 100% up to you.  You have the power to choose.  While his eyebrows were still high and his eyes darting back and forth, no doubt entertaining all the possibilities...I reminded him that while he chooses the action, WE choose the consequence.  And he can be 100% sure there will be consequences.  He said "oh yah, never mind".

Wait...is that perhaps missing today...? In parenting?  In our youth?

They can choose.  But apparently there should be no consequences...?

White. Black. Asian.  Should there be a difference...?

Again, as a mother of 2 black boys, I AM aware of the racial divide in this country. It DOES exist.  And it IS wrong. 100% wrong.

If my son breaks the law, may he get harsher treatment because of his color...? He absolutely (WRONGLY) may.  That exists.  (But be careful...it is not always the case).

I'm not going to argue who was right and who was wrong.

I'm simply talking about where we, as parents, are off track.

I've often heard parents talk about how their 17 year old go pulled over by a police office and "he sure gave him a piece of his mind!" and they chuckle.

Really...?

I would have never considered anything other than respectfully complying with whatever the officer said to me...and if I did act out of line...I knew my parents would be waiting to deal with me at home.

Today...? Few kids have that fear.  Yes. Fear.  Come on.  There is a healthy dose of fear missing.

Of their parents. Of authority.  A teacher.  A police officer.

Of God.

And today...I fear...I fear for my children's world. The next generation of America.  Yes...I fear what happens when there no longer is a "LAW" much more than my black children being treated harsher for their crimes.

This is OUR country. OUR people.  OUR children.

You and I...? We have no control over the law.  We do...however...have a huge role to play in the next generation.

Our children.