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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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.

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.

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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.

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