Hope
Mar
10

Hope

We could hear the muffled voice of a woman speaking into a megaphone.  A large crowd was gathered on the pavement outside Brown Thomas department store, some holding posters and signs above their heads.  An occasional cheer erupted as the woman spoke with conviction.

“What’s going on Mom?” Silas asked.

“I don’t know.”

It was Monday, our family day.  We had made breakfast, gone to a playground, eaten lunch at our favorite place in town.  Now on foot, we’d finished up with a few errands in the city center and were walking back to the church where our car was parked.  As we approached, we could see a symbol on the signs we didn’t recognize.  There were garda in reflective jackets standing amongst the crowd.  In front of the woman with the megaphone, there were several others holding a long banner.  This was a protest to repeal the law banning abortion in Ireland.

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The area was wide, but we had to walk through the crowd to get to where we were going.

“What’s going on Mom?”

There was a sign that said, “Warning: Graphic Abortion Photos Ahead.”  The boys were holding my hands, one on each side as we walked.

“Mom, what’s happening?”  Their voices sounded concerned now.

“Don’t look at the pictures.”  Ethan buried has face in my sleeve and I wrapped my arm around Silas to cover his eyes.  We walked quickly, Branden right behind us.

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There was a woman arguing with a man on our right.  As we passed, he said, “But there was no baby here.”  “Yes, there was!” she was almost shouting.

I couldn’t help but look at one of the large banners.  They were labelled with the number of weeks of gestation.  A graphic image filled each one.  Parts and pieces and medical utensils.  Children.

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We got through the crowd and kept walking.

“But Mom, what’s happening?”

I felt my face get hot, my eyes blurry.  I was looking down and buried my face in the front of my jacket.

“Mom, why are you crying?” Silas asked.  “She’s crying,” he turned and said to Branden.

Branden stopped me.  “Are you okay?”  I couldn’t really answer.  He put his arm around me.

“Lord help us.  This is where you have us.  This is how You feel when You see our sin.”  He contained to pray for me, for our family, for this country and the people we are called to love and serve.

People continued to pass us, walking around our little family huddle, past the protesters and giant banners.  I sobbed into Branden’s coat, still holding each of our boys by the hand.

The next hour was spent answering questions about abortion, what it is and why people are talking about it, about God’s heart and this broken world.

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There have been a couple of really sobering experiences that have taken place this week, and we’ve found ourselves  overwhelmed, feeling almost helpless.  In this world where sin and its effects seem so inevitable, how do we stand?  How do we disciple and train up our children?  How do we advance the Kingdom?  How do we love those in front of us?  My heart echoes Branden’s prayer – Lord help us.  This is where you have us.  This is how You feel when You see our sin.

A friend of mine said recently, “Where there is prayer, there is hope.”

Hebrews 12:2 says, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

He died in hope.  Rose in hope.  Believing and being joyful in anticipating that this broken world be brought back to Himself – broken and scarred, but reconciled.

So we pray, and bring our hearts to His own.  And we have hope.  Because the Lord’s love is greater, and if He allows us to be a part of this pursuit, this ministry of reconciliation, then He’ll give us the wisdom and grace to co-labor with Him in it – for our own children, and for those wandering all around us.

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Thank you for praying with us, for being a part of what God is doing here in Ireland.  It is still illegal to abort a child here, except under extreme circumstances.  Currently there is a lot of talking/protesting/media coverage, but we know this is a heart issue and pray for the Lord to draw this nation back to Himself.  Please continue to labor with us in prayer.

Boys On Mission – February 2017
Feb
23

Boys On Mission – February 2017

Hi Everybody!  This is Silas and I wanted to show you this awesome video of us at Blarney Castle.  This is me kissing the Blarney Stone!  It’s at the very top of the castle, attached to the wall.  People say that kissing it gives you the gift of gab, whatever that is.  Mom says it means that I can talk my way out of anything, which she says is true.

It was hard to kiss the stone because it’s actually at the bottom of the wall and there was a big gap between that part of the wall and the floor.  I had to lay on my back and hold two bars and bend backwards!  My mom’s friend, Ms. Michelle held my feet so I wouldn’t fall.  There’s also a guy that’s there to hold people so they don’t fall.  The bars you see in the space have not always been there, so some people might have fallen trying to kiss the stone!  Dun, dun, DUN!!!  Okay, here’s the video:

Mom wants me to tell you a little more about the castle.  It was built in the year 1446 and it’s actually owned by a single person who lives in a mansion on the property!  Can you imagine living beside a castle or even owning one?  When you visit the castle today, you can see some cool things.  There is a murder hole where the defenders would dump tar on invaders trying to come in.  There is also a poison garden, where all the plants are poisonous.  If you touch anything, you’ll probably die right then and there!  But you can still look at the plants.

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These are pictures my mom took from the top of the castle.  This is part of the wall.

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When we visited a couple weeks ago, we walked around outside in the gardens.  This is our selfie with Blarney Castle in the background.  I think I was talking when Ethan pressed the button.  LOL (Dad taught me what that meant last night!)

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Visiting Blarney Castle was totally awesome!  You guys can come visit it too, and when you do, you can come see us!

Not Too Big
Feb
10

Not Too Big

It’s been just over a week since these ladies came to visit us!  We’d been talking about the possibility of them coming even before our family moved here in October.  There was a conference they’d be helping with in the UK.  I jokingly (but kind of  seriously :) insisted on them stopping through Ireland on the way back, since they’d be only an hour away.  I’m so thankful they made it happen!

I have to admit, I surprised myself, tearing up when they walked though our front door.  The last few months have been amazing and full and good.  There’s been (and continues to be) a lot of transition, and we are settling in to the new normal.  But somehow, their familiar faces, standing with luggage in hand, in our entry way – it got me.  They’d brought a little bit of home to us and I was both thankful and overwhelmed.  I suddenly realized how far away from the familiar we really are.

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We went to the ocean while they were here.  We actually hadn’t been to the beach since we’ve moved here.  Sometimes I forget we live on an island now!  The weather in Ireland can be unpredictable.  Actually, the forecast was quite grim for the two days they were supposed to be visiting.  I remember just praying for favor beforehand, that the Lord would hold off the crazy winds and pouring rain!  And the Lord answered!

When we got to the ocean though, it was pretty windy (as you can see in our picture above!)  The sky was thick and gray, the waves full of commotion and noise.  It was incredible, the water seemed to go on and on forever.

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We’d just walked down to the shoreline and it started to drizzle.  I thought is was the ocean misting up at us at first.  Within minutes, it was raining, then all but pouring!  There we were, three grown women, running from waves and trying to collect a few rocks, souvenirs from this side of the Atlantic!

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We probably only stayed about ten or fifteen minutes.  By the end of it we were all drenched, laughing and yelling to be heard over the water!

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I’m so thankful for these women, for two days packed with laughter and late night tea and easy, full conversations.  I’m thankful for memories made in full winter gear at the beach, with the ocean threatening to wash us away.  And I’m thankful especially for friends that make you feel like home is not so far away and the world is not too big.

Until next time…

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