Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Seeing the Light

The girl on the picture above is Blessie. She is 10 years old, lives in the Philippines and is involved in our Sunday School program over there.

Her mother tried to have her aborted and as a result she was born with several birth defects, including brain damage, problems moving her limbs and major problems with her vision.

Right now Blessie is going blind.  She is totally blind in her left eye and her right eye is going blind too.  She can get treatment for her eyes but the family does not have the money for the surgery.  Her family has been praying for people to help.

The cost of the surgery is $400.

We're trying to raise money to help Blessie get her surgery.  We believe that through the kindness of others she will be able see not only the natural world around her but also the supernatural, unconditional love of God.

Will you prayerfully consider helping Blessie to get her surgery.

If you would like to give - please call 718-453-3352 and ask to speak with Becky.

If you are not concerned about your donation being tax-deductible you can use the Paypal button on the right to send money to our Paypal account.  Please write me a quick email or a facebook message (or comment on this post) to let me know that you gave so I can keep you updated on Blessie's situation.

And please pray for the kids and the workers in the Philippines.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Agency Adoptions: Pros & Cons

Found this very simple article on pros and cons of agency adoptions on "Focus on the Family" website.

This website has a lot of resources for adopting or looking-to-adopt couples in their transition period.

If you're considering adoption - you should stop by there.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dealing with Discouragement in Ministry

I already blogged about her here.  This has been going on for a while.  I have spent years supporting her trying to make sure her world does not collapse.  Despite all my efforts and all my tryings - I saw pieces shattered on the floor yesterday.  Her choices determined her reputation, the outcome of her actions.

I stand and wonder, "Have I done anything wrong?  What else could I have done?"

God is silent.

I think.  Hard.

And at that moment I do not understand what could have been different.

Another conversation with another person.  The entitlement and ungratefulness seeping through her comments.

Those two put together in one morning... and I am just so... angry... so frustrated and sad.

Everyone who's ever tried to witness to someone or disciple a new believer in Christ will eventually face DISCOURAGEMENT.

Discouragement - that desire to lower your hands, throw in the towel, exhale and... walk away... from it all...

Yes, from it all... from the good and the ugly.  Just be done with it.

But how can I?

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?  
(Romans 10:14)

I am reminded why I am here.

And I try again.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lionhearted and Lamblike

In the first months of our marriage my beloved husband and I have spent a long time re-assessing what we thought we knew about the roles of husband and wife in marriage.  Transferring what we remembered reading in the Bible or hearing someone teach in church into our personal convictions was hard.  Even harder was looking deep into ourselves and adjusting our behavior to be more Christ-like towards each other.  And trust me - we're still working on that.

This summer I blogged a lot about being the wife that my husband needs (if you're interested and new to this blog - just scroll down on your right and look for theme search - then click on label "completing him challenge" and all posts will show).

This morning I thought I'd share a little about the role of a husband with you.  I loved this sermon by John Piper "Lionhearted and Lamblike: The Christian Husband as Head".  I think that best describes what a husband should be: a strong and determined yet gentle and humble leader.

You can watch / listen / read Part 1 of the sermon here and Part 2 here.

Hope it blesses you like it blessed me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Making Home A Haven: Sorting Through Messes

I walk through the door and I am oh so tired.  It is after 9.30pm and it's been a long day...

My life runs like that: meetings, ministry, work, serving, studying, school, friends... non-stop.  The first thing to suffer or be left out in that whirlwind of activities and things to do is... our home.  As I walked through my small one-bedroom apartment today I noticed lots of messes, spaces filled with clutter that I refused to notice this week.

But the little messes here and there is not what I want to talk about today.  I will focus on where the big mess is - my bedroom.  The biggest danger that a busy wife faces is keeping common areas clean and inviting while allowing your own bedroom to overgrow with clutter.

If we want our homes to be a place of peaceful harmony - we need to make it our priority to create that atmosphere.  

My challenge to you today is to walk through your bedroom doors and ask yourself whether your bedroom is a haven.  Is your bedroom a place where you both can unwind after a long and tiring day?  A place where you can hold each other and talk about how your day went?  Share your dreams?  Be passionate with each other?  A place where everything is pleasant to your eye? and your smell?

If it isn't - maybe it's time for you to de-clutter your bedroom.  When I do not have much time - I often just throw everything that's out of place into a clean garbage bag.  When I have a bit more time I go back to the garbage bag and sort through the items.

Don't allow your bedroom to become the messiest place in the house.  Make it a haven for you and your husband.

But isn't that interesting how my life is like my apartment.  I keep the common areas nice and clean.  Whenever you stop by my heart - what you see looks nice and inviting.  And then as I open up His Word I am confronted with the bedroom of my heart - a private chamber, filled with the clutter of disappointment, and hurt, and discouragement, and pain, and discontent, and jealousy, and fear.  Those things you do not see. But I do.  This is a mess and so I set my priorities on de-cluttering my heart.  Sorting through my emotions, checking it against the Word.  Two piles: THROW and KEEP.

Will you dare sort through your messes today?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pray for Belarus

The presidential elections have now been scheduled for December 19th, 2010.  Due to the current political situation in Belarus, it would require nothing short of a miracle to bring about a real change.  The current (and only) president of Belarus has served since 1994 and has no intention of leaving the office.

I am hoping for a miracle today.
Will you join me in prayer for the country of Belarus and her people?

Monday, October 11, 2010

One Thousand Gifts - #26-29

I lean my head against the wall and exhale.

I am faced again with... nothing... the emptiness... the quietness...

My heart yearns for rest.  Rest from anxiety.  Rest from worry.  Rest from stress.

Even rest from anticipation.

And so I rest... for a minute... leaning my head against the shower wall...

Warm trails of water saturating my hair... racing down my spine...

His Spirit giving me a new hope, developing stronger trust.

And I am grateful... and willing to wait for His promise.

#26 - a wall of bathroom tile to lean my head on
#27 - the privacy of my shower (the place for my deepest sighs and most sincere prayers)
#28 - the gift of time (and how everything changes as it passes)
#29 - the rich legacy of answered prayers (in the Word of God and my personal life)

holy experience

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Making Home A Haven: Playing Catch Up

Courtney over at Women Living Well is hosting yet another challenge.

I was very excited about the challenge... My life is very hectic right now.  I am trying to juggle many ministry activities (fall semester is often the busiest for those in ministry and it is definitely true for me), doing school on my days off, still trying to find time to invest in those dear to my heart, focusing on being a better wife, and doing all that without forgetting about my personal relationship with the Lord.

Needless to say, my home is not always getting the attention it needs (but that's about to change).

I was even more excited about the challenge when I realized that I already had a nice big candle that someone blessed me with...

Remember the juggling?

So here I am - it is already Sunday - the challenge's been going on - and... I keep forgetting to even light the candle (leave alone praying for my home when I do)...  I guess that is what this challenge will be all about for me - decluttering my own self first... focusing myself on my home and my husband even in the midst of my busiest season in life...

Let me share with you the most important lesson I've learned so far.

You may try so hard to please your husband that you forget to do what actually pleases him.

My beloved husband turned 30 this week.  I was so determined to make it extra-special for him that for the past year and a half I have been secretly saving up for a surprise trip for the two of us.  Everything was falling in place.  We flew to Phoenix AZ on a Sunday and Bryan's dad and brothers took him out for some speed racing men time while his mom and I were putting the last details together for Bryan's surprise birthday party.  In the evening we went to a very nice hotel where we got a sweet upgrade.  But that was only a so-called appetizer.

My main gift for my husband was going jet skiing.  He's wanted to do that for years and I was thrilled that I could plan something that would make him so happy.

The fun part started when we both realized that we weren't quite sure how to get to the spot on the lake.  I had the directions and GPS service - but I was contacted by a representative in the morning with a set of directions and I was specifically told not to follow the GPS or Google Maps and use those directions only.  Before you knew it - we were arguing (as most couples do when they are uncertain of their route while traveling).  I was upset and he was upset and we were angry and we were frustrated.

And that's when it hit me.

What was the point of all my effort?  of all the money that I have so diligently saved up?  of all the stress?  What was the point of it all if I allow it to disappear in a irrelevant and ridiculous argument?  Everything I had worked so hard to plan and organize was losing its appeal in my stubborn refusal to let it go and put my husband first.

Me and my beloved husband jet skiing @ Lake Pleasant, AZ
And that's when I had to bite my tongue...

Dear ladies, how often we do that!  We spend so much energy caring for the home, doing what we think our husbands would want us to do (and they do) but then forgetting how important it is for us to simply follow them and love on them and admire them.  All our effort is lost in nagging and arguing and tension and frustration will quickly build up if you're not careful.  That's how marriages fall apart.

Today, I refuse to allow my effort and energy go wasted.

Today, I will love my husband fully.

Today, I will take care of my husband and my home - but I will do so with JOY.

What will you do today?
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