Friday, May 8, 2015

What our high schooler is up to

Some 17-year olds like to participate in band at school because they are passionate about the instrument they play.
Others love the exhilaration of athletic competition.
So they compete in high school soccer, or baseball, or softball, or football.
They start driving........

some get a job......

others help out at community volunteer organizations.

Two  years ago, as our oldest started up her freshman year of high school, she was presented with an amazing opportunity.
The youth group at our church took a mission trip to Ghana, West Africa.
She wanted to go.
We swallowed down our fears and hesitations and let her go.

You can read about her journey there here.

Last summer another opportunity opened up for her to go to the mountains of Mexico.
She went with a veteran missionary who grew up on the mission field there and who took his daughter with him, our daughter's friend.

Lexi loves to study language and cultures.
Next year, her senior year, she will be taking her 4th year of Spanish.
She couldn't wait to try to use some of that on the field in Mexico.

These have been life-changing events for her.
They are shaping her future.

They are shaping ours.

This year, right now, as I'm writing this, our girl is in on the Philippine Islands in Manila.
Our church now takes two short-term missions trips every year.
When she heard the trips in 2015 would be to the Philippines and to Guatamala,  she immediately asked if we would allow her to do both.


Another deep breath.
We trusted the Lord who put this in her heart, and He has supplied in the most miraculous of ways.
She sold some art and wrote some letters and God supplied!!
Both trips paid for by April 1!!!
Pure miracles.

More to come.......

Thursday, May 7, 2015

When you think you really don't have anything to give

She said she didn't have anybody.

How could a young lady, 10 days overdue, have nobody to go with her during her labor and delivery?


In my mind, I looked around facetiously, and thought, 
"There are seriously no other takers here?  I could go?"

When I got home from the safehouse that afternoon, I mentioned this to my police-officer
husband.  He said casually,
"Well, are you going to go with her?"

Maybe this was an opportunity.

It had been several weeks since I was needed to teach the parenting class
at the safehouse, and I was feeling a bit apprehensive.
The last group of girls there had been, let's say, less than enthusiastic about parenting class.
Sometimes, they aren't very open to new ideas, God's thoughts about children.
I could see them snicker together and roll their eyes.

I prayed for grace that afternoon as I returned, to keep my heart open.

When I volunteered at the safehouse for pregnant, homeless women a couple years ago,
I was stepping into unchartered waters.....for me anyway.
This wasn't like anything I had ever done before.
But I had been reading Ann Voskamp's book, 
One Thousand Gifts.
It absolutely changed my life.
I was struck with this:

"Christian hands never clasp,
and He doesn't give gifts for gain,
because a gift can never stop being a gift -
a gift is always meant to be given..."
~One Thousand Gifts

When I started looking, really looking, and counting  how much God gives
me so lavishly every day, I realized that I must have something to be able
to share with these women.  It may not be monetary, I didn't have a lot of leftover time,
but I have been loved so much by Him.
I could at least share that.
In opening my hands to receive what He gives me every day,
 I realized I had morethan enough, spilling over in fact, to share!!

So I went.
Just to see where I could meet a need.
I started as the craft lady.

Within a year, they needed a parenting class teacher more than they needed
a craft class teacher, and I guess they thought I might fit the bill.

It's always amazing how much more I receive from those girls than I could ever give them.

I always left more blessed.

That evening, after speaking about this situation with my husband, I called my Mom
who lives about 5 states away.
To my surprise, she asked the very same question,
"Well, are you going to go with her? 
 You've certainly been down that road before."

I told her I was willing, but thought I might wait for another sign.

I don't know what I was imagining that "sign" might be, but I called the safehouse the next morning
to see if anyone else had stepped up, and that if no one else would go with her, 
I would volunteer.

They all were delighted.
There was my sign.

I was in.

Deep breath!
"Lord, I'm not sure this is what I had in mind when I started at the safehouse so long ago!!"

She was to be induced that evening at 8 pm.
When I got there, she was all set up, and comfortable.
The gel had been applied and now all we could do was wait.

She told she was running from an abusive relationship.
Her family was fractured hundreds of miles away.
Now, she had no one.

When I was confident the baby was not arriving that night,
and she was trying to sleep,
 I went back to my home
to rest up for what I knew was coming the next day.
She texted me at 5 am,
"I am in labor."

We went the whole day without much progress.
By 9 pm that evening, I looked like this.

Talk about unchartered waters.
Having an amazing opportunity just drop into your lap.
Watching God do something amazing with your 2 little fish and 5 measly loaves?

I held my breath with her as I held her hand.

And then this: 

......a gorgeous little boy.

I held out my hands, opened,
and I was allowed to be among the very first to hold him.
To introduce him to his Mama.

Whoever imagines that?
That opening your hands to God you get to participate in a moment like this?!

We went back to check up on them just as soon as we could!

 Oh, the joy, the wonder of His gifts that just keep on coming....
when we open our hands and say, "Yes, Lord!"