35 / 52 – This time last year…
Sep
03

35 / 52 – This time last year…

This time last year we were getting ready to move into my parents’ house.  The Lord had already told me we were going to be missionaries, but He still hadn’t spoken that to Branden yet.  He was working two jobs, sometimes 80-90 hours a week, and we didn’t see him very much.  I remember packing boxes day after day by myself and thinking, “If God doesn’t do what He’s told me He will, if He doesn’t change Branden’s heart and show him we’re supposed to be missionaries, I have no idea what we’re doing.”  We weren’t really “making it.”  We couldn’t afford a place of our own.  We were moving an hour out of town into a very unfinished basement and had very little other direction in life except that we knew the Lord was calling us to children’s ministry.  Branden was completely disheartened.  I was lonely.  This was it.

On the day we moved out, the Lord gave me these verses:

Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.  I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’  From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.”    – Isaiah 46:9-11

God is God.  He can do what He wants.  And whatever He says He’ll do, He will do.

Well, we moved into my parents’ basement.  Those first few weeks were really hard, especially on Branden.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  My parents were awesome, but the idea of reaching this place in our lives seemed really anticlimactic and kind of like failure.  But the Lord would continue to encourage me, to be present and tell me impossible things that He would do.  He provided for us to take our scouting trip that October, and then did those impossible things!  He changed Branden’s heart and finally told him we were supposed to serve full time overseas in Ireland!

Today we are getting ready to move again :)  So much has happened in the last year and even I can’t believe it sometimes!  The other day we looked at a listing for a house online – in Ireland!  The pastor’s wife in Cork (where we’ll be going to serve in just a few short weeks!) called the listing agent and set up an appointment to see it.  She took me on a tour via phone pictures and Voxer (do you guys use Voxer?  It’s an awesome walkie talkie app that you all should download so we can talk after our family moves!)  She brought home a renter’s application and we filled it out together (again over Voxer, because it’s awesome!)  And she mailed it in :)

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Yesterday as I got ready for my time with the Lord, He led me to Isaiah 26 again:

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“I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me… What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.”

I didn’t even realize it was exactly one year and a day since He’d given me this verse the first time until I was sharing it with a friend later that night.  He’s done so much already, things that He’d told me He would do.  Crazy things that I had no idea how He would fulfill, and He delighted in showing me!  And now, we stand at the brink of something new.  There are promises still that He has yet to fulfill.  I find myself still wrestling with doubt some days, which is crazy when I look back and remember everything He’s already done.  But He’s patient with me and is still happy to blow my mind in telling me impossible things and then actually doing them!  Things were really painful a year ago.  I wouldn’t trade those dark days for anything though, because it was in those times when the Lord showed me He was God.  I’m excited for what’s up ahead and to go with a God who walks with us in the steps of faith He calls us to!

32 / 52 – Though It Linger
Aug
11

32 / 52 – Though It Linger

For those of you who have heard our story before, you know that the Lord told me we were going to be missionaries to Ireland before He told Branden.  In fact, God said He would withhold His word from Branden for a season.  When I asked God WHY?  He said it was to teach us (sounds like Jesus, right?).  Apparently I needed to learn how to BE QUIET! and to see that the Lord is faithful, able to do everything He says.  Branden needed to learn to trust Jesus in a different way too, to believe God would take care of our family and to be open to new and seemingly impossible things He would call us to.  The Lord would take us through and teach us, but the season that came was incredibly hard on our marriage and family.

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I remember days, weeks, months of discouragement, tension and confusion.  I knew the Lord had told me we were going to Ireland, but my husband was completely against it.  The season was lonely.  Jesus would continue to tell me things, precious promises about our future.  But I couldn’t share them with my husband.  I would have to wait.  God was doing a good, hard work, and that would take time.  That loneliness was from Him, which meant I could trust it, but it was still incredibly painful.

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God was teaching me that being the wife He was calling me to be, that helping my husband was accomplished in prayer and respect rather than always demanding telling him what I thought we should do, even if it was God’s will (surprise!)  I needed to give Branden room to hear the Lord, which also meant giving him room to make mistakes.  But if Jesus had said something to me, and Jesus is faithful, then I had to believe He would accomplish it, His way.  In His perfect time, God told Branden for Himself, that He was calling us to the mission field.  And He showed me that He was completely faithful and good.

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In that long season of learning to trust and wait on the Lord, God gave me this verse:

“Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. 
 For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”  – Habakkuk 2:2-3
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In a season of great heartache, God was growing my faith.  And He was pulling me closer to Himself, showing me what real fellowship with Him meant.  He gave me a gift in loneliness, taking me deeper into His love and showing me that He is much more than enough for me.  I could trust Him, and I can trust Him now, to do all He has promised He would do.
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While I was in the tattoo artist’s chair, I matched my other arm with symbols for our two boys, arrows in the hands of a warrior. (Psalm 127)
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The boys were impressed to find out I had endured the pain and that they were etched onto my arm with drawings of weapons!  I’ve traded photography for a lot of great, really useful things, but tattoos are probably the coolest :)
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Daily reminders of what the Lord is calling us to, and that He is faithful to His Word and His character.  He will not leave us or forsake our hearts!
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Jun
06

the wife of noble character

i started studying proverbs 31:10-31 yesterday.  this section of scripture talks about “the wife of noble character.”  i haven’t done a line by line study of a chunk of scripture in a while, but i know i really need this (at least that’s what the Lord tells me :)  i want to be this woman – the wife of noble character.  i’m just not where i want to be, where i need to be – for my family and for myself.  there’s no crazy sin in my life, but i’m not this woman, not yet anyways.  i don’t know if you’re in the same boat, but i thought i’d share what the Lord is trying to teach me; maybe He’ll use it in your life too!

okay, the first three verses:

A wife of noble character who can find?  She is worth far more than rubies.

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.

She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

let’s break it down.  verse 10: A wife of noble character who can find?  She is worth far more than rubies. 

i looked up the word noble.  i thought at first of someone of royalty, like someone who lives in a castle.  i’m not a princess, so i’ve already failed if that’s what it means!  but the dictionary says it can also mean “exalted moral or mental character; excellence.”  that makes more sense.  do i have exalted moral or mental character?

then i thought of character – this is what makes a woman valuable – not looks, money, title, or accomplishments, but the Lord says character!  wow, what a different story from what the world is telling!

okay, rubies – rare, beautiful and valuable.  a wife of noble character is more rare, beautiful and valuable to God (and the man of God) than rubies!

verse 11: Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.

full confidence – what does this mean?  he can trust her completely; she’s reliable, he feels safe.  funny thinking about us women folk keeping the men safe, but it’s true in a sense.  can my husband trust me to do what i need to do?  is he confident that i will take care of my family the way i need to?  am i a good steward of the things entrusted to my care – money, time, relationships?

he lacks nothing of value – i started thinking (gathering from my observations as a married woman of 11 years!)  what do men really value?  respect (that’s a big one!) peace in our home, physical and verbal affirmation, confidence (i’m sure there are a lot more).  of course my husband should find his identity in Christ, but does having me as a wife help towards those things?  is there any way that i disrespect my husband?  cause there to be chaos or conflict instead of peace in our home?  are there ways i can affirm him more physically and verbally?  do i help or hinder his confidence in taking care of our family or leading us?

okay, last one.  verse 11: She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

alright, to be honest, after all that, this is where the Lord busted me the most.  not the “bringing him good, not harm” part so much.  i think i bring good to my husband for the most part.  it’s the “all the days of her life” part.  do you ever have a not so great day in your marriage where you want to want to harm your husband (i’m not talking domestic violence here!)  i mean, you want to “share” how your day is going with a friend, maybe even ask them to pray of you?  you end up giving them the full story and in the process completely disrespecting your husband.  or maybe you let little comments about your husband slip in front of friends.  do you say more than you should, things that aren’t benefiting to your marriage?

i think about ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

i’m a filipino woman.  what does that mean?  i have an opinion about pretty much everything and have a hard time keeping it to myself.  not great for bringing my husband good and not harm.  on the good days it’s pretty easy, but the Lord says, “all the days” of my life.

the Lord is so gracious and patient with me (and so is my husband!)  i pray that the Lord would teach me, give me His heart for my husband and marriage.  that God’s Word would work in my life to overcome my personality, even my culture and experiences.  i want to be a wife of noble character, that my husband would not lack anything of real value, that he would count me more beautiful and valuable than rubies.

anybody with me?  i don’t know who’s reading this, but i pray that the Lord uses it to convict and encourage you to walk closer to Him and be the woman He’s made you to be.  i’ll be praying for you; please pray for me :)  i’ll post the next few verses soon.  hope to see you there!

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