sometimes, it's just too heavy

Have you ever noticed that children are the best question askers? They do not beat around the bush, they just ask it! Favorite question around our home..."but why?"
I simply cannot jump on the band wagon of "because I said so," especially to the "BUT WHY's?" to the serious, hard questions. Yet there are times when the WHY is just too heavy.

No doubt you have, if not you will, receive the "but why" when it comes to decisions that you make as parents that affect your family -whether it is relocating, downsizing, or a moral question where the answer is simple, but the weight of it heavy.
So recently when a decision of change came into our family and the "but why?" followed, I drew from the wisdom of another parent. Corrie Ten Boom's father, his response when she asked a question that at her tender age required too heavy an answer:

"And so seated next to my father in the train compartment, I suddenly asked, "Father, what is sexsin?"
He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case off the floor and set it on the floor. Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?" he said. I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning. It's too heavy," I said.
Yes," he said, "and it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It's the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger, you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you."  excerpt from The Hiding Place
Be encouraged that when the difficult questions come, God will give you the right words. Sometimes our words may need to be few so that we do not give our children such a heavy load to carry. 
Oh, and that heavy bag that you and I, as adults, try to carry...our heavenly father wants to carry that for us too!

Deep calls to Deep

"Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, 
and at night his song is with me, 
a prayer to the God of my life."
Psalm 42:7 & 8

Along the treacherous path we hiked. Even in the midst of the rugged terrain is the beauty of God's handiwork in the delicate flowers. So it is in life's journey that during difficult times, destination unknown, that beauty arises, a psalm in the heart.

As the hike continued - for over three miles, we were promised it would be worth it. Small glimpses of beauty along the way were nice, but there was still uncertainty and thoughts of "Is this worth it?" Then as deep calls to deep, we heard the distance roar of His waterfalls. This psalm was living and active for me, reminding me of his steadfast love and that  his song is with me.

refreshed in the Nauyaka Falls in Costa Rica!

Indeed his breakers and waves have gone over prayer to the God of my life will be rejoicing with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory. Thankful for my God who knows my heart, hears my cries and because of His great love shows me his beauty and allowed me to experience the psalmists words in a tangible way.

Listen for the roar of his waterfalls, be content to let his waves go over you. He knows your heart and hears your cries.

family missions together

we love missions, near us or abroad. My husband gets to travel all over, loving on orphans and encouraging those called to serve in hard places - he loves it. I have opportunities to travel abroad speak to women, teens and teach children God's truths - I love it. Nothing tops getting to do this as a family. We know this is a tremendous blessing!

Taking our children with us is huge for us. We have been asked, "But what can you REALLY do when you have your children with you?" My answer: be a family.
Many that we have the opportunity to serve are not surrounded by healthy families. The children we get to love on do not see many outside dad's and mom's just getting to be dad and mom. The women I share with are often wives and moms - in need of encouragement.

Our children get to serve by playing - tough job, but somebody's got to do it!
When in India our son played cricket, soccer, and just got to be himself. He couldn't communicate because he doesn't speak Tamil and the children didn't speak English. In Costa Rica the boys speak Spanish. Thankfully for boys grunts are universal and sports are an automatic connection.

Man Time with boys - playing soccer, devo time & ice cream!

Our daughter loves to hold the little one's. In India, most of the time there was a child on her hip. In Haiti, she smiled, held them and played. In Costa Rica she smiled, held them and played.
playing & loving on the little ones

If you have been thinking of going on a family mission trip - stop thinking and start planning. It's not as easy as going solo...but the worthwhile things in life are rarely the easy ones!

my heart restored

Sharing with teen moms in Costa Rica ~ some who come from broken homes, live with abusive boyfriends, taking care of their babies at age fifteen and sixteen. Being a teenager is hard, being a mom is hard, living in poverty makes it ALL the more difficult. Most of them have their identity tied to what has happened to them (they didn't all become moms by their own will), what they have done, who shows them "love," and the lies others have spoken to them again and again.
My Heart Restored was prayed over and planned to hold up a new mirror, show them a new identity, restore bruised and broken hearts - but how?
The Gospel. In the new mirror given there is a reflection of a Savior.
My favorite storybook This is No Fairy Tale, ended session one as Hazel (pictured next to me on the right) told the story orally in the girls native tongue. They heard the gospel. A Savior who loves, died, rose again so that we could be complete, forgiven, made whole.
A Savior who loves completely and never leaves us.
The young girls didn't need to be reminded of their sin. It is what they see in the mirror every day, reminded of when others shun them, by the way they seek to feel loved...
Small Group time with their mentors gave them time to address these. The girls were asked tough questions and given big TRUTHS.

As we gathered again, I shared "This is how God showed his love for us. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:9&10

A Savior who loves you - He calls you by name, he has engraved your name on the palm of his hand. You are not just one in a million or a face in the crowd. You are unique, loved and accepted fully because of what Jesus has already done. When we believe this for ourselves and trust Him, he gives us the right to be called children of God. This is no fairy tale, Jesus' love is real.

Trust him, begin to believe His truth. Then I prayed for them new eyes and courage to see themselves as they really are in Christ (or really can be) and faith to believe that He is restoring their hearts.

Small group time, a chance to go deeper....and they did!

God is at work in the hearts of these young ladies, pray for them and pray for their mentors!