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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Down for the Count...

I consider myself to be a fighter.  I've never been KO'd and I rarely find myself down for the count.  It seems to be a family trait, a temperament that runs in the family.  In most areas of life, this has proven to be a good thing.  I can look back on circumstances in my life when this "stick-to-it-ness" has allowed me to plow through what could've been some tough blows in arena of life.  

But oftentimes what I fail to remember is that I am not in this fight alone.  Yesterday was a tough day for me:  as a Mom, as a wife, and mainly as a homeschooling Mom.  I felt like nothing was going right and that I'd hit a wall with my middle son, Elijah.  When this kind of thing happens, my fighter instincts come out and I begin to start looking at my son as MY challenge.  Then it's downhill from there.  I get frustrated, he gets frustrated, he starts crying (he's really sensitive), I have to leave the room, he gets distracted....etc.  My biggest fear is that he'll hate homeschool.  It's then I realized, Elijah's not challenging me....GOD is.

Now I could site excuses which complicate our homeschooling life like:  moving around 3 continents within a school year, not having all my "junk" in one place and lacking supplies, being around (at least) 3 different languages during the course of his little 4 year old life, etc.  It's true.  These obstacles do facilitate a frustrating homeschooling experience.  But I can't help but wonder if I'm not slowly building some of my own walls.  When I express my frustrations and set the bar too high....I'm just adding to that wall between us.  It's crazy!  I can feel my blood starting to boil.  Then I start telling myself...calm down, calm down, he'll get it, keep trying...etc.  Ugh!  Then I end up hating myself and I start to question if I'll be able to do this for the next 16 years!  

All the while I am forgetting that I'm not in this fight alone.  Just like with my youngest, JJ, I can't take the "fight" out of me.  It's just not gonna happen.  But I can refocus.  God's mercies are NEW EVERY morning!!  This is not a solo duel.  This is a TEAM effort!  I have GOD on my side and he should never be a last resort.  I also have my husband is always ready to "tag team". 1 Cor. 10:13 says God is NEVER gonna give me more than I can handle with His help.

The weight of homeschooling is starting to bear down on me and I can't fight this fight alone.  There is so much to take to God in prayer and so much "looking in the mirror" that needs to be done.  This isn't just "book learning" taking place here.  There are little lives and little hearts that are being molded.  And more than anything, I want my boys to be just like Jesus :)

Praying the walls come down...

Monday, January 2, 2012

Ciao 2011 Ciao 2012


I’ve always thought it was interesting that Italians use the same word for hello and goodbye.  However, Saturday night at midnight, it made perfect sense.  In that split second (in your own respective time zones), we all said goodbye to one year and hello to a new year.  What a reminder of how much we are NOT in control of!  In the blink of an eye, we turned the page of a new year.  What was done or left undone in 2011 is 
history.  What was said or left unsaid can never be rewritten.  Wow.  Once again I am reminded of how great God is and how small I am.  I am utterly dependent on Him.

Resolutions...I don’t really believe that they are as magical as people make them out to be.  It’s always good to “put your foot down” in a sense and decide what things in your life need to change.  But it is God that brings about change in our lives...not our determination to see it happen.  Saying, “From now on, I’m gonna...” or “From now on, I’m not gonna...” doesn’t make God love us any more or any less.  All that to say, we didn’t make resolutions for 2012, but we did make a “to do list” of sorts for our first week in 2012 and our last week in Togo.  Our major “to do” item for the next few months or so is very close to our hearts.  I’ll share it with you.

We are asking God to SHOW US by the end of February where He would have us work (settle down for the rest of lives and raise our children) in West Africa.  This is such a HUGE decision and one that is beginning to weigh on us (more on me than Daniel, I think).  We only have 3 countries left to visit before we reflect on all we’ve learned and what God is doing.  4 down, 3 to go.  In 2 more months, we’ll be done with surveys, making contacts, and visiting unknown territories.  It will be the end of this journey.

Our prayer is that we hear God speak.  I don’t know where most of you are in your walk with the Lord and what your personal experiences have been.  I can count on one hand the times I know God has personally and specifically spoken to me about an issue.  Here I am Lord, asking for it again!  I don’t want to end this journey with a vague, blah, feeling.  I don’t want to have one of those, “God isn’t leading in any specific way, so let’s just make a decision” experiences.  I refuse to just walk in one direction and pray that God will open or close the doors!!  

I want to hear YOU speak God!  I want the “lightbulb”!  I want to know, beyond a shadow of any doubt, that YOU have a people group picked out for us.  I want to hear your voice, the voice of my Shepherd, leading me (us) to a village that longs to hear Your truth, even if they don’t even know if yet.  

Is that too much to ask?  Is this request too bold?  I don’t think so.  I serve a personal God who longs to have a relationship with all humanity.  I’m listening....