While We’re Here
Apr
07

While We’re Here

This sweet family came to visit us a couple weeks ago! While they were here, we got to have special meals (thanks for making dinners Erin!), visit new places, take them to a few of our favorite spots (like the beach!), and stay up super late laughing and talking and eating! We got to enjoy their kids and their company – it was honestly such a huge blessing and it felt like the hours just flew by!

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You know how, when you’re on vacation (or enjoying someone vacationing at your place :), you are just aware of how much time you have left? Time before you go home? And you want to relax, but you also plan your days, fill them up, make your stay worth it. After all, you’ve done what it takes to get there, and you’ll be leaving soon. You want to make the most of your time.

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James 4:13-14 says, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit;’ whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

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My kids have been asking about eternity lately, and I’m always thankful for how Jesus teaches me through their inquisitiveness. Eternity is not so far away. And though we are called to live here today, it must be with a sober understanding that we are just passing through. When I stop to realign myself with that perspective, it makes the trials bearable. And it makes the days in front of us short. We don’t have much time. We are going home! What will we do while we’re here?

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The morning they left, I found our firstborn crying by himself. He’s our deep feeler and constant processor. He asked why they couldn’t stay longer? Why they had to go home so soon? We talked about how they needed to get back to things at home. They couldn’t stay. I know he felt like we did, those few days with this precious family, was like a little piece of home had come to us.

I’m thankful that one day, “home” will be with Jesus. We’ll be with Him and goodbyes will be a thing of the past. Until then, I want to steward well the hours before me. Making the most of the days while we’re here.

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Faithfulness
Jan
17

Faithfulness

Hello All!  Happy New Year to you!  January always brings this sense of anticipation, doesn’t it?  Like the clean, blank pages of the coming months are full of potential!  You don’t want to mess things up.  The days are fresh and waiting to be filled with great stories!  What amazing things lie ahead?

Of course we put great pressure on ourselves.  And the inevitable lack of perfection usually greets us bluntly before January is over.  Still, there is grace, and the Lord continues to lead and love us, especially as we’re reminded of that imperfection.

I’ve seen several women posting a word for the upcoming year, a theme to set the stage for the months ahead.  I’ve never really chosen a word or verse like that, but as the new year began, I started praying about what the Lord might be calling me to in 2017.  One idea continues to be brought to the forefront:

FAITHFULNESS

At the end of all my years, I hope to hear the words, “My good and faithful servant.”  But I’m learning that faithfulness is in the small, usually unseen moments that, over time, shape the sum.  Like small strokes or impressions, intentionally and continuously made.  Stepping back reveals the reward.  In the up close, everyday life, these small choices to do and give and serve may have seemed mundane, tedious, unimportant.  But a life of faithfulness stands as a great testament.  And beyond the doing and the serving, I’m learning two things – Faithfulness requires faith, and faithfulness is to Jesus.

The boys were studying the life of Noah the other day, learning that God’s commission to build the ark + zoo cost him over a hundred years!  Can you imagine what faith was required to continuously gather the supplies, to shape and craft this vessel, to endure curiosity and ridicule, to believe that at the end of it all, rain would come and flood the world?  But faith brought forth a life of faithfulness – not to the task, not to the boat, but to God Himself.  Noah believed God, and loved Him day in and day out.

 And what will be said of my own life?  That I did good things?  Or was gifted in some way?  That I spent my days giving and serving?  Or will it be that I loved Jesus with all that I am and was spent completely for His good pleasure?

The year ahead really is full, of potential and of grace.  For each day ahead, I pray the Lord finds me faithful.

………………………………………..

I wanted to share too, many of you heard us talk about a girl named Liana as we were preparing to come to Ireland.  When we first visited in 2015, her parents shared how she was the only Christian in her school, among hundreds of kids.  At her young age (5 at the time) she’d already faced instances of ridicule for her beliefs.  God is doing an amazing work here.  For the first time in a long while, more children in Ireland are growing up in Christian homes.  The culture is changing, but these young believers are part of the 1% of Evangelicals in this country.  They are learning to live out their faith in a place that can be very difficult on Christians.

Since our arrival in October, we’ve gotten to hang out with Liana and her family several times.  She holds her own with our boys and I’m grateful for her sweet girly influence in their lives.  We were Facetiming with someone in the States the other night and they asked the boys if they were making friends here.  Silas told them about a few kids and then talked about Liana and how much they enjoy hanging out with her.  I’m so thankful for the community God is giving us here.

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So much is at stake as we say Yes to the Lord, as we choose daily to follow Him where He leads.  May we steward well the days He sets before us and be found faithful.

52 / 52 – Walking
Jan
11

52 / 52 – Walking

Walking.  Since moving here to Ireland, we’ve learned to walk much more than we ever did before!  In Cork City, many people don’t have cars.  Owning one is pretty expensive here.  The streets are narrow and crowded, and there’s not much in the city center that isn’t within a half hour or forty-five minutes on foot.  So people walk.

A couple weeks ago, the boys and I spent the day in the city.  We started at the church, which is basically at one corner of the city, and set out on foot.  I had a purse and each boy carried an empty backpack, ready to be filled with any treasures we might pick up along the way.  We went from store to store, mostly window shopping and just enjoying the day.

We probably walked a total of six hours – which is a lot for us!  It was a little chilly, and for part of the time it actually rained a bit, but nothing that really bothered us enough to stay inside.  We talked about things we saw, told stories, picked up a couple small things, and just walked.

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Walking together seems so simple; it’s normal, everyday life.  But as I’ve been thinking about it, it’s in that simplicity that life happens.  Walking with someone means motion, moving in a direction, going forward with them.  It means keeping step, not falling behind or racing ahead; you’re walking.  It means conversation and fellowship – relationship.  And as you see the same things, participate in the everyday, from exciting to mundane, you find yourself knit together with them.   Your days are intertwined.

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As we close the cover on 2016 and look with anticipation at the blank pages that await us, I hope to walk well.  To keep in step and live fully and faithfully in all the Lord calls me to each day.   I pray we’ll build relationships and grow as we make the most of everyday opportunities.  And I hope that as we make our way, we’d also make the stories we’ll share at this time next year and beyond.  I’m so thankful, knowing that when Jesus came it was to be Emmanuel, “God with us.”  He walked among us, living life here and calling us to the Father.  And He is Emmanuel still, and calls us to love and call the world to Himself.  Here’s to all He has in store for 2017!

And these boys – couldn’t ask for better walking partners!

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