Many changes are coming again. I've enjoyed 8 weeks in the United States and am currently enjoying time with Mikayla before she heads back to college. We have enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving break.
On Tuesday December 3rd I'll be flying back to Davao.
This puts this mother's heart in a bit of turmoil. With one child in the United States and the rest of the family half way around the world, it is hard to leave the one to go to the others just as it has been difficult to be separated from my husband and three children to be here to help my oldest daughter.
Some of this is just natural, normal "going-to-college" transitions for child and mom.
God reminds me gently in His word to Rest. That is my one word that centers my mind on His word, His watchcare, His love.
I believe my Heavenly Dad desires me to pursue this Rest in all areas of my life, and especially in this new phase of mothering a college student from half way around the world, and the other three in "real time" once I return to Davao. I look forward to hugging my three blessings in Davao rather than just talking with them on the phone as we have for the past two months.
REST, PEACE, THANKFULNESS
Those are the three guideposts in my Christian life, in all my life.
To me, PEACE is synonomous with Rest.
And God commands me to be thankful in ALL things, to cast my cares on Him for He cares, and to rest in Him.
I pull out my Bible and read familiar passages about rest, that Jesus is my Prince of Peace, and that Him being the God of peace and rest commands me to let His peace, His rest rule in my heart.
In so many circumstances throughout the Bible, God commands us to seek His rest and peace, to be filled with His rest and peace, to find our rest and peace in Him. And to be thankful.
He reminds me, lovingly, to find my rest and peace in Him, not in my circumstances.
In reading His word, offering a simple prayer of repentence, or just praying, "God, help me, I feel overwhelmed. Please help me stay resting in You for You are my Prince of Peace. I thank You for Your leading and guiding in all my life."
He has been so faithful to combat my stress with His rest and peace when I am faithful to come to Him. I greatly desire for His rest and peace to rule in my heart as a mom, as a woman after His own heart. I don't want stress or exhaustion or emotions to rule my heart; just His Rest, His Peace, and Thankfulness to Him for all things.
The picture of Jerard resting on me reminds me that, as it says in Psalm 131, God wants me to rest on Him .....
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
to which indeed you were called in one body.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
....with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
We had a court hearing for James' adoption November 28th. Thankfully, it was our last court hearing for James' adoption. Now we just have to wait for the judge's decision. That could take 30 - 60 days and prayerfully, not longer.
Today, being Thanksgiving in the USA, I celebrated with Mikayla, her friend, Sarah, my sister, Meredy, my brother-in-law Ron, and my father-in-law, Gene. We had plenty of food and fun.
We started our Thanksgiving celebration by singing a favourite hymn of mine....Now Thank We All Our God
Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers' arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.
O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessèd peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!
All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;
The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven;
The one eternal God, whom earth and Heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.
November 22, 2013 marks our 7th year of living in the Philippines.
What an adventure it has been!
I have thousands of pictures I could share, but for now, this is plenty. Thanks for praying for us!
What Is the Meaning of Sabbatical?
Sabbatical is defined as any extended period of leave from one's customary work, esp. for rest, to acquire new skills or training.
It is a leave usually taken every seventh year.
I've had many ask why I've been in the USA for eight weeks in July - September and then again October - December.
Part of the reason I've been in the states so much recently is to help Mikayla get settled into college. We moved her into her dorm room at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain Georgia the third week of August and spent a week there with her.
I've also been there in October visiting her during her fall break.
Next week she will be here in Michigan for six days to celebrate Thanksgiving with me before I return to Davao.
On top of dealing with normal freshman college adjustments, many missionary kids, like Mikayla, deal with the added stress of adjusting to a new culture and dealing with parents being on a different continent.
I've also been here in the states to work on partnership development; talking with supporters and asking others to join our partnership team. We need to raise about 7% more support per month.
I've been enjoying talking with groups, individuals, going out for coffee, dinner, etc. Friendship and relationships are such blessings.
But, to be honest, a major reason I've been taking a break from life in Davao is because mission work can be stressful. And for myself the stress was starting to feel like a steam roller running over me. I wasn't handling it as well as I should've been.
Spent time at Baan Sabai a missionary retreat center.
Wonderful place run by a wonderful couple who understand
the unique stresses missionries face.
Like the prophet in Lamentations 3 I can say,
I am the man who has seen affliction He has driven and brought me into darkness without any light;
He has made my flesh and my skin waste away; He has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation;
He has made me dwell in darkness...
my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is;
so I say, "My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord."
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him;
For the Lord will not cast off forever,
but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?
Why should a living man complain,....?
Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!
Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven:
"I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit;
you heard my plea, "Do not close your ear to my cry for help!'
You came near when I called on you; you said, "Do not fear!'
Seven years over seas have been filled with blessings, joys, growth, heartache, tears and I praise God for His leading us to join missions. I look forward to continued working in missions.
Some of you may know I will be working on a masters in counseling as I desire to become more involved in member care for missionaries.
I've been enjoying healing times of friendship, laughter, change of pace while working through some issues.
When you bury a child, when life sometimes feels like a fiery furnance of anger and pain, .......even soldiers get r and r from the front lines of combat. And truth be known, I really miss my son, Jerard, and ache for him almost daily. Grief is like that. I know he is with Jesus. I know I'll see him again, but his presence and the meaning he gave my days is sorely missed.
This time in the USA has been relief, healing, fun, enjoyable.
December 3rd I will fly back to Davao for six months, and then our family will be returning to the USA for a much needed furlough, time with our church family, friends, family and continued working in missions from the USA.
And one thing I have found is that as I praise Him in the storms, hope renews.As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you,O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.These thingsI remember, as I pour out my soul:
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.Hope in God; for I shall
again praise him, my salvation and my God.
(excerpts from Psam 42)
Eight Redemptive Names of God
"The Lord our provider" - This is also the name Abraham gave to the place where the Lord provided a sacrifice in place of Isaac. (Gen. 22:14).
"Our banner, a banner of love and protection" - Also the name Moses gave to the altar he built after defeating the Amalekites (Ex. 17:15).
"Our perfect peace" - Also the name Gideon gave to the altar he built at Ophrah (Judges 6:24)
"The Lord is our righteousness" - The name is applied to a future Davidic king who would lead his people to do what is right and thus bring peace (Jeremiah 23:6) and to the restored city of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 33:16).
"The One Who is with us everywhere for He is Omnipresent" - The Jerusalem of Ezekiel's vision (see Ezekiel 48:35 margin) was known by this name. Compare text at Isaiah 60:19-20 and Revelation 21:3.
"The Lord of Hosts, our Protector."
C.H. Spurgeon said this about the phrase "The Lord of Hosts:
The Lord rules the angels, the stars, the elements, and all the hosts of Heaven; and the Heaven of heavens is under His sway... [the Lord] is on our side -- our august Ally; woe unto those who fight against Him, for they shall flee like smoke before the wind when He gives the word to scatter them."
See text at Psalm 46:7.
"Our Shepherd Who tenderly leads us, loves us and will keep us safe." - the famous Psalm 23 tells us that "The Lord is our Shepherd and we shall not want...." Being illustrated as a shepherd implies a relationship with His sheep (His believers). The term shepherd appears approximately 80 times in the Scriptures, denotating meanings of: feeder, keeper, companion, friend, pastor and herdsman.
"I am the Lord Your Physician or I am the Lord Your Healer - this name especially was a Name God prophetically spoke about Himself, not one that someone gave Him. Exodus 15:26.
Holman Bible Dictionary and the book All the Divine Names And Titles In The Bible by Herbert Lockyer used as source for certain material.