Thursday, August 25, 2011

Well, Hi!

: ) "Well, hi!" If you went to college with me, you might remember a certain guy who was associated with that greeting. He might not have been the only one. He's just the one I remember. Probably because I fell in love with and married him.  : )

Well, this guy and I are embarking on an adventure the likes of which I never could have dreamed up on my own. And things are moving like a roller-coaster click click click click clicking up a big hill and I'm holding on tight and holding my breath. It seemed like just a minute ago we were safely in line and all of a sudden we're strapped in and climbing up a hill ready for the ride of a lifetime! Let me explain.

At the end of January and through much of Spring we had about 20% of our fundraising pledged. It took from then all the way to the end of July to get to 45%. Let me help you with the math... that was about 6 months for the next 25% increase.

As of today we are just over 70%. Our pledged support has jumped another 25% in less than one month. A significant portion of that has come in even just this week and we know there is more coming. Almost every day now we hear of someone new who has given or is going to. It is overwhelming. It is humbling.

It is GOD.

As things have sped up so quickly it has made me take another good, long, hard look at what we're doing.  It is hard to accept so much sacrificial giving.  It is scary to be invested in. But this good, hard look has been good because God has used it to remind me again of some really, really important truths.

1. People are investing in God's Kingdom - not Lowell & Melissa's Kingdom.
2. I can't do anything without God.
3. God doesn't expect me to.
4. God does expect me to trust Him and seek Him and expect to find Him.
5. God plans to do things through us as we walk with Him, abiding in His love and power - whether we realize He is using us or not.
6. God will supply all of our needs one day at a time.
7. I can do all things through Christ.
8. He really has called us to this.

He really has called us to this.  That is perhaps the biggest reassurance for me of all right now.  As things go from "somewhere out there" to "coming around the corner!" we need to have the peace that comes from knowing this was not our idea.  So I am grateful that He is gladly confirming that to us.  He is wildly confirming that to us.  And I'm excited to see what's next... because I think after we get off the first part of this ride, we're going to be like Toby when he got off of his first roller coaster this summer.

Grinning from ear to ear proclaiming for all to hear:  "THAT WAS AWESOME!!!!!"

Monday, August 08, 2011

The Oregon Trail

Funny...  trails can turn into trials with just the switch of two letters.  : )  But thankfully, this trail was no trial.  We enjoyed our trip to Oregon to visit the New Hope Bible Church in Grants Pass so very much.  I wrote a couple of posts on our other blog about our time there...

This one about our trip up there  and  this one about our time there.

Happy trails to you!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

31 Days?

One of my favorite blogs is Emily Freeman's...  Chatting at the Sky  She is an amazing writer who I found last October when she was doing a series called 31 Days of Grace.  She and some other people out in Bloggyland are each doing a different series of 31 Days of Something and encouraging others to consider doing the same.  (Intrigued?  Check out her post here.)

So after doing my Lent series last Spring, I'm thinking that a Fall series might be a good thing.  Maybe.  But, I’m torn. In October I just might be in the middle of packing up our life to move to Peru. So I don’t know if that means it would be ridiculous to do something like this or that it would be a really good time to do something like this b/c it would be therapeutic for me.  (Because we all know I'm gonna need some therapy!) 

And since I can always change my mind, I’m gonna dream about it for now.  I think my 31 days would be 31 Days of Songs from My Heart… sharing songs I’ve written (at least the lyrics… not sure about ability/time to include more) and some of the stories behind them.  (And yes, I do have that many that I've written and more.  And counting.)  (I just get shy about sharing them.)

(And I know there's no law that says I have to wait until October or that I have to do it in October.  But I don't know very many people that run marathons by themselves.  So there is something to be said for doing it at the same time others are...  Otherwise I might not ever do it!)

So we'll see!  Let me know what you think!  : )  
You just might be able to persuade me...  ; )

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Genesis, Joseph & Me

I just finished reading the book of Genesis.  The last 14 chapters are primarily about Joseph and the rest of the sons of Jacob/Israel.  The story of Joseph's brothers showing up in his presence and bowing before him and the whole elaborate process Joseph put them through before he let them know who he was is quite a story.  Today it brought me to tears as I imagined the brothers being reunited after so much time apart - the emotions and tension heightened by the guilt and fear the brothers carried with them as they were faced with their sin yet again.  Grace and mercy extended by the one they had betrayed.

But the thing that leaves me puzzled at the end of the story is that they stayed in Egypt long after the famine was over.  And it doesn't really say why (at least not there).  Joseph was only 30 when he was dramatically released from jail and put in charge of the whole country.  The little told rest of the story about the famine I discovered today is that while the famine progressed and the country ran out of food and money to buy more grain, the people sold more and more of their lives to Pharaoh. First their money.  Next their livestock.  Finally their land and themselves into slavery.  They were alive, but they belonged to Pharaoh.

Apparently because those were Joseph's instructions.  Interesting!  I still think, though, that Joseph could have purchased back his family and all of their offspring and property and sent them back to Canaan.  They all could have gone back to the land God said was to be theirs.  So why didn't they?

Perhaps they knew that others had taken over their land and they were afraid to go back.  Perhaps it was just too nice and comfy in Egypt with their little brother taking care of them all.  All we know is that they stayed in Egypt and over the course of the next 400 years, the story takes a turn for an even bigger drama than what Joseph experienced in his dramatic life.  The selling as a slave, rise to favor in Potiphar's household, false accusation, imprisonment, release and rise to power again in Joseph's life is a foreshadow of the dramatic story the whole people of Israel would experience.

So what can I learn from this?  God is working on some deep stuff in my heart these days.  I have to trust that He is the One who is guiding me through these seasons and that He is Sovereign.  The story of Joseph shouts of God's Sovereign power and His plans to use for good what the enemy intended for evil in our lives.  I can trust that.  I have to trust that!

For a few weeks now I have been pondering Psalm 139 and at the end the psalmist asks God to search and examine his heart, to know his anxious thoughts.  The words indicate to me more than an invitation for God to look inside me because God already knows what is there!  It's an invitation for God to expose and reveal what is inside and to let me know what is there.  As I have prayed, God has been faithful to answer and show me some of the sources of anxiety and fear in my life and I don't like it.  The process is hard and at times the way seems dark and intimidating.  So I rely on God to walk with me through the process and like the last verse in the Psalm says, I trust and expect God to "lead me in the way everlasting."  The process must have been confusing for Joseph and eventually the Israelites over the course of the next 400 years, but God knew what He was doing.  He always knows and has a plan and a reason. He is wise and loving and gracious and compassionate and His mercy is new every single morning.

And for that I am so thankful.  Lead me on, Lord.