Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The truly brave...

I have received so many precious words of encouragement since the article posted on Live Action and I have been called brave and courageous and yet, the woman in the video below is truly brave. I never feared that someone would force me to an abortion clinic. I never even thought about having to flee the town I was in or live the rest of my life looking behind my shoulder. I live in a country which allows me to make decisions about my family- whether the road that led me to those decisions was planned or unplanned. I am reminded after watching this, that although we have a lot of things messed up in this country, I am so grateful to live here.

We need to vigorously pray for the women and men in China- they are truly suffering from their lack of freedoms. Their vicious "One Child Policy" has forced MILLIONS of babies to be aborted at all stages of pregnancy....and some while being born--All while the mother's desperately cry for mercy. It's absolutely terrible what is happening there and I am almost ashamed to admit that I hadn't given this situation more thought before now.

Watch the video and pray for this woman and the millions of others just like her. HER testimony is the real one of courage and bravery. God bless her....

Pray also for the persecuted church in China and around the world. I read David Platt's book, "Radical- Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream" over a year ago and it was really the launching pad for this blog, water project, Haiti trip and shift in thinking. He has what is called "Secret Church" where his church congregation in Birmingham, AL meets with nothing more than the Word of God- no flashy music, no preaching, no comfy pews, etc... they read and pray for the persecuted/"underground" churches around the world- China is one of them. Actually, I read today that more Christians have been persecuted and detained in China than in any other country. ( Below is also a video about the "Secret Church".

I know this isn't a "feel-good" post but it's necessary. We need to remember these precious people.

Romans 12:21: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil by doing good."


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Welcome Visitors :)

I've noticed that I am getting a lot of traffic via the story that was posted on Live Action. I also noticed today that has picked up our story as well which is amazing! I am honored and humbled to have so many people reading about our family. It's not easy to share about something so personal but knowing that others may be encouraged through it, makes it all worth it.

Our blog is somewhat a "smorgasbord" of life centered around one concept: Living and raising my kids in the most meaningful way possible. I definitely won't be perfect at this task but I will try! I wanted to put some links here to my blog posts that I think describe what we have been doing the past year. There have been some amazing things happen. To sum it up, we have raised almost $3,000 for Water Missions International through a "Radical Project" of fundraising and giving up things that we don't really need in order for people to have something they absolutely do need: clean drinking water.

Part 2 of this project is a trip I am taking to Haiti over Thanksgiving. I will be working with a local organization there called the Haitian American Friendship Foundation and working with school children and teachers there. I also hope to visit one of the Living Water Treatment Systems put in place there by Water Missions International. This has been a family project and all the way down to my smallest (he is 4 years old now)- have been deeply touched and impacted. His sweet little prayer at dinner is "God, pwease help people who have to dwink dirty water" followed by thanking Him for the nearest 10 objects around him :-) My 8 year old has a very generous heart and donated all of his Christmas money to the water project. These kids are such a blessing to me and it's such an honor to try and lead them through this life in meaningful ways.

It means a lot that you have visited our blog and I hope you enjoy reading some of the highlights of our year!


Click on some of the links below to read about our past year:

"Getting ready, Getting set, Going!"

"Our 'Radical' Christmas!"

"Life is Precious- Sanctity of Life"

"Water Missions International- Haiti Video"

"The Experiment"

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Nick Vujicic: From No Limbs to No Limits

This video goes along perfectly with the "Thanking God for the thorn..." post last week. My church showed this video this morning and I had to share it. Well worth your 8 minutes. I hope you are encouraged through it. This guy is living a truly Radical life!

Go to the bottom of the blog and pause the music player- you have to hear this one!


"There's no point in being whole on the outside when I'm broken on the inside... I didn't need my circumstances to change- I don't need arms and legs- I need the wings of the Holy Spirit and I'm flying because I know Jesus is holding me up." - Nick Vujicic

Friday, October 7, 2011

Live Action Article-My Story

The post on Live Action is up that I mentioned a couple weeks ago.. Just wanted to share it with my fellow blog readers. It's a pretty long story but I'm grateful it's being shared....

Hope you all have a great day and wonderful, Fall weekend!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thanking God for the thorn....

"Thank you God for this thorn in my side. It makes me long for You. It makes me trust in You. Call on You. Depend on Your strength, not my own.... because I'm out of strength. I need You...."

This is so hard.
The finances that pile up. The marriage that is falling apart. The kids that always need you. The job that drains you...or the job that you need. The dream that you had, that seems to be slipping away from your grip. Losing someone you loved- by death or betrayal. The trench you are in---and can't seem to get out of. It's radical and crazy to thank God for it. No one wants to suffer. No one wants to hurt.... but what if THIS place- the trench- is exactly where God wants to meet you. Grow you. Strip you of your dependence on your own efforts and strength so He can clothe you with His righteousness....His glory....His purpose? The things we try so hard to move on from and push with aggression out of our lives, are the things and places where God is. "How could a loving God want me to hurt?" Maybe He sees something we cannot see yet. Maybe He knows that our happiness is second, third, maybe not even on the list, to the importance of developing His character in us. And His character cannot be developed without our surrender- without our neediness- without our trench moments- without the thorns.

One of the most heartbreaking, yet encouraging parts of the Bible is when Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10:
 "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take the thorn away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
It's heartbreaking because it means we have to endure the pain. Yet encouraging, because it means God is doing something supernatural in our weakness; but if we try to take a shortcut out of the pain, we will miss it.

When did I learn the most about real love?  When I was faced with the decision to love someone who was unlovable towards me.
When did I learn joy? When I realized that joy is more about contentment and gratefulness and less about happiness.
When have I learned about thankfulness and gratitude? When I have stopped complaining about the things I don't have and started thanking Him for everything that I do....
When is peace developed? When I am forced to let go of my circumstances and trust my Father-- trust that He will work things together for my good---whether I see it or not.
Self control? When the circumstance arises and I think "Ooh, I know how to fix this!" and that little voice inside my head tells me to "Back off". Sometimes I've listened, sometimes I haven't. Every time I haven't, I fail.

The thorns aren't ever over for good and we never fully "get it". I can think I have learned all the lessons I need to for my character, but I'm wrong. There will be more to come. Mainly because I think we forget where God has already taken us. We are double minded. Doubtful. And we think we have so much more control than we actually have.

Surrender is a HARD thing to learn- it is more than lyrics to a's painful; But it will always produce righteousness, deeper faith and a more meaningful life....

Years ago, I found myself begging God- "Please Lord, take me around another mountain, I am so tired of this same mountain.....over and over and over and over. Lord, I can't take it anymore." Looking back now, I know God was far more concerned with what He wanted to teach me through it and less concerned with how I felt in it. I can relate to this as a parent myself...

The bible is FULL of great people who suffered. Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Paul, Job.....Jesus. 
James 1:2
"Consider it pure joy when you face trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance which must finish its work (no shortcuts!) in order for you to be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
...Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that was promised to him through Christ Jesus."
Romans 5:3-5
"We also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, character, hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God's love has been poured out into our hearts." 
Romans 8:18
"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that is to come."

Oswald Chambers- My Utmost for His Highest:
If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a number of experiences that are not meant for you personally at all. They are designed to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what takes place in the lives of others. Because of this process, you will never be surprised by what comes your way. You say, “Oh, I can’t deal with that.” Why can’t you? God gave you sufficient opportunities to learn from Him about that problem; but you turned away, not heeding the lesson, because it seemed foolish to spend your time that way.
Are we partakers of Christ’s sufferings? Are we prepared for God to stamp out our personal ambitions? Are we prepared for God to destroy our individual decisions by supernaturally transforming them? It will mean not knowing why God is taking us that way, because knowing would make us spiritually proud. We never realize at the time what God is putting us through— we go through it more or less without understanding. Then suddenly we come to a place of enlightenment, and realize— “God has strengthened me and I didn’t even know it!”

And last but not least, one of the most beautiful promises in Scripture:
Revelation 21:4:
"...And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away."
 One day, this will all be over. The thorns will be gone. The trenches removed. And we will live from glory to glory, forever and ever...

(Pause the music player at the bottom of this page to hear the video)