Thursday, October 23, 2014

James and the Great Pumpkin

Last weekend we took James to his first pumpkin patch.  Unfortunately he didn't get a good nap in before we left so he was rather grouchy the whole time.  It was still a fun afternoon with our community group, and the weather was perfect.

James and his buddy Pax

Our fabulous community group

He was reluctant to crawl through the grass at first but he got used to it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Remembering My Anchor

Sometimes the greatest epiphanies come while listening to music in the car.  The other day I was listening to "Anchor of my Soul" by Josh Garrels and was struck by these lyrics:

Oh Lord of the wind and the waves
If you're with us we will not be afraid
No storm can ever separate us 
From Jesus, you're mighty to save
All those who would call on your name

When it comes to thinking about our future as missionaries serving overseas there is still a lot of fear that I'm working through.  It's a fear of not being able to be a good wife and mother when I'm not surrounded by friends and family.  A fear that I won't have the strength to carry on day after day.  The thing is, I will fail when I try to do anything on my own.  Listening to Josh the other day I was reminded that God has indeed promised to be with me wherever I go and will give me everything I need.  My problem is, while I believe it in my head, I don't think this truth has totally sunk into my heart.  

Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength."  We've all heard that one a million times and I tend to glide right past this verse.  But do I really believe this?  Do I live in light of this reality? 

Yesterday during my quiet time I started making a list of the things that I could do only with God's help.  My list started with big picture things like "doing missions", but as I went along I started writing things like, "being a patient mom," "teaching SojournKids" and "showing grace to other people."  God graciously pointed out to me that all the things I'm already doing are only possible in His strength, not my own.  God has been so faithful to be working in my life, why would he give up right as we step out in faith and obedience to go to the mission field?

In my imaginings of life in SE Asia I honestly haven't left a lot of room for God.  I've spent plenty of time thinking about the nitty gritty details of life and whether or not I'll be able to hack it over there, but I seem to have forgotten that God isn't going to forget me.  (Ironic huh?)  He'll continue to be at work in my life and will keep providing everything I need to do the things He's called me to do.  This thought has been so comforting the past few days and I'm sure it's a truth I'll keep leaning on over the next few years before we go.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Giving up the Fish

This morning I read the story of Jesus feeding the 5000.  It's one I've read many times, but something about it struck me differently today.  I imagined the scene: Jesus had been teaching the crowds in a rather remote location for most of the day.  It's getting late and everyone is hungry.  There were probably kids running around all over the place pulling on their moms' clothes asking for their dinner.  The disciples told Jesus to send the crowds away so they could go get food for themselves.  Who knows, they might have been a bit tired of all these people milling around and were looking forward to some peace and quiet with Jesus.  But Jesus comes back with this, "They do not need to go away.  You give them something to eat."  Talk about a tall order!  They told him the only food they had was 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.  Not enough for thousands of people to chow down on for sure.  Jesus then says, "Bring them here to me."  He has all the people sit down in the grass, he gave thanks to God, and gave the food back to the disciples to pass out to everyone.  Miraculously, there was plenty for everyone, and even 12 baskets of leftovers. (Patrick would have loved that!)  Once again, Jesus provided what the disciples could not.

This story illustrates more than just how Jesus denies the whole "no such thing as a free lunch" thing. Sure, we could take away from this passage that God will provide for us, but I'm pretty sure there's a deeper meaning here.  When the disciples brought their meager bit of food to Jesus they had to trust that he was going to do something incredible with it.  Doesn't that apply to our very lives as well?  I might not have much talent, wisdom, or skill, but when I give what I do have to Jesus, he's able to do remarkable things with it.

Perhaps the hardest part in this is the handover.  It's hard for me to want to totally submit myself to Jesus.  What if he wants to do something I don't like?  What if he asks me to do hard things?  That's a possibility, and it's certainly happened to me before so I'm sure it will happen again.  But here's where we learn to trust God.  We can trust that even when he asks us to do hard or even impossible things, he will ultimately use it for his glory.  And what's cool is that it's not really up to us to do the incredible things anyway.  All we have to do is be willing to let Jesus use our lives.  The rest is up to him.

So that's my prayer for today, that I could keep learning how to give up my bread and fish to Jesus and trust that he will do miraculous things with my life.  (Not a bad way to start the day really...;) )