Friday, January 30, 2009

A Day With Mama

Grocery shopping. . .again?! This time I had the privilege of having my Mama (mother-in-law) with me. We don't usually get to spend much time together because of our busy schedules, but Mama had a day off today. We had tea together this morning and some heart to heart talks that we haven't been able to have in way too long. Our local "Tim's" served a great lunch, and the kids provided many laughs. Shirley now dislikes apple juice because she was drenched by it! After going BACK home to get dry clothes for Shirley we headed to the grocery store. Wow! It's amazing what an extra pair of willing hands can do! I was so thankful to have her with me today. In the busyness of life we tend to take the ones closest to us for granted. I for one do not say enough how thankful I am for Mama and Papa. Crossing cultures when getting married brings a set of unique challenges. The challenges aren't necessarily reserved for the bride and groom. Even parents have things to learn and understand. We've learned together for over 7 years. Though we have not always completely understood each other, we've always loved each other (in our own unique ways!). "The Five Love Languages" is a book I have been reading recently. The book is about learning your spouse's love language, but "love languages" apply to all types of personal relationships. Learning "love languages" has been an ongoing project for all of us. As with crossing actual language barriers, there have been misunderstandings and blunders. This daughter -in-law is thankful that as we've crossed these TWO language barriers we've built a love that will last a lifetime. I've never thought of all of this before today--and all because I had a day with Mama.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

God's Great Servants

Today our family had the privilege of having lunch with two of God's great servants, Pastor James Turpin and his wife Ruth. The Turpins are veteran missionaries to Norway for over 30 years. Norway is not an easy field and life has more often than not been difficult for them, but they have been faithful through the many things they have faced. Having been friends with their daughter, Sonya, since college, I have learned many things about them. Never did I imagine that I would have the privilege of personally meeting them and learning from them. Jun and I will be ever grateful to the Lord for giving us a small window of time to spend with two of his great servants. They will be returning to Norway near the beginning of March. Please pray for them as they are here trying to increase their support levels.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Bridge Builder

Each day at naptime I read to my kids. We recently started reading "The Book of Virtues" by William J. Bennett. Today as I was reading, I ran across this poem and at the end immediately thought of my pastor, Pastor Gordon Conner. I am so thankful to him for building bridges for the younger generation. We love you, Pastor.

The Bridge Builder
by Will Allen Dromgoole

An old man, going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast, and deep, and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned, when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.
"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim, near,
"You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide--
Why build you the bridge at the eventide?"

The builder lifted his old gray head:
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followeth after me today
A youth, whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm, that has been naught to me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Crazy Lady

Today, as I have done many times in the past, I went grocery shopping. To be honest, this has become a chore I dread. It seems every can, box, and bag is calling, "Micah touch me!" "Matthias, knock me on the floor!" "Shirley, tell Mama you want to take me home!" Being somewhat of a drill sergeant mom I always expect that my kids should be perfectly quiet and walk next to the cart without ever letting go. God often reminds me that He didn't make me a robot and neither are my kids! Today, I had a daunting task ahead of me. . .a new budget. Now combine this with the noticeable rise in grocery prices, and I felt I was on an impossible mission. In the van on the way to the store I prayed for good deals and good kids. Now the good deals I knew God could do. The kids on the other hand I wasn't so sure ;-) since we had already been to an eye doctor appointment at the mall. Before we went into the store I had a talk with the kids, and again I prayed that this time that I would be patient with them. Often in Superstore I have received comments from people about how brave I am to go grocery shopping with three little kids. I have also received knowing looks from moms who are in the same boat. More often I have received stares of disgust from the many people in our society who think children are just supposed to go to school and stay home and never emerge into the adult world. My kids are kids. Today I discovered something though. A little patience, planning, and prayer goes a long way with little kids, little money and lots of groceries . In between those "That lady is crazy" looks I enlisted the kids in helping me get the groceries, which more or less got rid of their "grabbiness". They stepped out in front of a cart or two (always in front of the ones with that "crazy lady" look on there face!), but they did well. The shopping took a little longer as I would compare prices and enter things into the calculator on my phone. Micah was getting into the spirit of it and would call out the prices to me from the shelf. After they put in the last cans of fruit ("In juice, Mom", Micah said, as I checked the labels to make sure they weren't canned in syrup. He's always so proud when his reading skills are helpful to me.), we had another talk. The kids love to help bag, but it usually ends up being a fight over who's going to put what into the bags. This time I decided I needed a strategy for the whole bagging thing. I told Micah and Matthias exactly where to stand and to stop pushing the advance button when I say stop. Then, we headed for the checkout. The lady in front of me gave me that "crazy lady" look as she put the divider down between our groceries. The boys dutifully stood at the end of the belt, with bags in hand, ready for those groceries. Micah will put anything together in any bag, which was driving Matthias crazy because he is all about things being categorised. But the groceries were getting into bags and into the cart without much fuss from the boys, so I was thankful. The cashier, who was at the end of her shift, was not at all amused by my most helpful sons (who I happened to be very proud of at the moment!). When she told me the total, I was happily surprised (I had a relative idea--just wasn't sure how much the taxes would be and I was afraid it would put me over.). When I said, "Oh, that's great! I was trying to hit (X amount)." She didn't share in my glee. One more crazy lady look for the day. On the way home, we had a granola bar and Shirley had a nap. I'm so thankful that God helped this "crazy lady" while I was shopping today. He helped my kids to do an awesome job, and He helped me stay $0.81 under my budget! You may think I'm a "crazy lady" for posting this, but oh well!

Monday, January 12, 2009

How Much Longer?

In the past few days I have been in touch with new missionaries and some old friends trying to get to the mission field. God has once again reinforced in my mind the urgency of foreign missions. Countries that used to be "wide open" are closing. A friend who is trying to get to Ireland told me that the government is now only allowing missionaries to come to the country for three years, period. Russia is making their missionaries go and come for three months at a time. Belarus is closing it's doors. These are just a few of the countless countries that are closing their doors to the gospel. What are we doing? Where and when are we going? Yes, Canada needs God (while the doors are still open here!), but many of us are way too comfortable here in our nice homes, with our nice cars and our comfortable life styles. Years ago I heard a preacher say, "Are you willing to go and wanting to stay or are you wanting to go and willing to stay?" How about you?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Goodly Heritage

We have all heard it said that we appreciate our parents more as we get older. This is so very true! Simply growing up makes us more thankful because we start to understand the sacrifices they made for us. With my parents, I have far more than provision to thank them for. I thank my parents for letting go. In my adult years I have encountered many parents who selfishly manipulate their children's lives, never heeding that God is in charge. Every step of the way that God has led me in my life, my parents have prayerfully let me go and follow the Lord. As a mom of very young children, I know I still do not comprehend how very difficult this has been for them. I do realise though that it doesn't get any easier with age. Now, my parents have grandkids that they have entrusted to the Lord. Mom and Dad, thank you for trusting God in the lives of Christopher, Nathan, Adam, and me--and now in the lives of Melissa, Rachel, Micah, Matthias, Shirley, Isaac, Caleb, and Anna. God is blessing you and will continue to bless you for your great faith. I love you!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

"Jesus Loves Me the Most"

Yesterday Shirley said this to me while I was cleaning her up after lunch. After washing her face I said, "You're so beautiful. I love you so much Shirley." She responded with her normal "I love you!" But after that she said, "Jesus loves me the most!" This is something we've taught all of our children, but I haven't said it to Shirley in a while. She doesn't know it, but I need to be reminded of this more than she does. He loves my kids "the most" and He's using them to help me remember.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The New Year

January 1, 2009. Many analogies have been made of the passing of an old year and the coming of a new. For me 2009 holds a year of promise that I can be closer to God than I have ever been if I will but do my part. I began reading "To Cross the Widest Ocean" by Mrs. Rick Martin (Becky Martin). In this amazing book, Mrs. Martin shares what she has learned as the wife of a missionary in the Philippines. I highly recommend that any woman read this book.

In this book Mrs. Martin printed Jack Chick's Bible reading plan which I have decided to use for the year 2009. Here is the plan:
Read one chapter from each of the following ten sections and start over as each is finished.
1. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts
2. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
3.Romans, I&II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Hebrews
4. I&II Thessalonians; I&II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, James, I&II Peter; I,II&III John; Jude; Revelation
5. Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon
6. Psalms
7. Proverbs
8. Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I&II Samuel, I&II Kings, I&II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Ester
9. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah
10. Hebrews chapter 11, I Corinthians 13, alterntely every day.

While I was reading Matthew 1, I realised something for the first time. Verse 13 says, "And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias." Even though Bathsheba experienced being the object of David's lust for her and murder of her husband; through this, she was in the line of the Messiah. Once again, God has reminded me that even in the face of human wickedness He can produce wonderful things that I may never even comprehend in my lifetime. To Him be all honour and praise!