Where Would You Like To Go?

August 25, 2014

To My Daughters

Sweet girls,
   My heart is full.  There are times when it's hard to believe that this is my life.  Married to your handsome daddy who loves all 3 of us so well, living in a 3rd world country, and being "mommy" to the most beautiful blue eyed girls I know.  Truly living out my dream - it's humbling for sure.  Most spend their time on this earth trying to figure out what their dream is and then chasing after it with all they have. I don't have words to describe how it is to know that I'm 29 and already living mine.  I want you to know that it's not because of anything I have done.  I have done nothing to deserve or earn this life.  My sweet, gracious, & merciful Savior has chosen, for now, to allow me to live this life and I am eternally grateful for every moment He provides.

  I so often have SO much I want to tell you that I have no idea where to start, so instead of it all staying in my head and in my prayers - I want to share some of it with you.  There are things I never want you to question, truths I desire for you to always be confident of.  
Ryleigh & Lyllian - you are LOVED.  You are loved more than you can imagine.  Both of you are uniquely created by the One who controls the storms and calms the seas.  He has an amazing journey planned just for you if you choose to follow Him.  He has entrusted your daddy and me to be your parents here on earth and we are completely honored with the task.  We will make mistakes, sweet girls...at times we will fail at showing you His perfect love but He.will.never.fail.  
  The way your eyes smile and light up when you see me in the mornings - it's incredible enough to make my heart burst.  Your giggles and grins have changed me in a way that's undescribable.  Our days are filled with laughter - have no doubt - but know that there are other moments, ones of tantrums, tears, and discipline...but they all hold a special place in my heart.  It's this whirlwind of ordinary moments that make our life together so extraordinary.  The Lord has used (and continues to use) the two of you to teach me much about His truths, His grace, and His forgiveness.  
  Sometimes the days seem long and we are all (whether you admit it or not) look forward to bedtime.  We're frustrated and in the words of Ryleigh "want to stomp our feet at you".  It's in those moments that I've learned to grab you and pull you in my lap - to hold you until we both start laughing and the tension is gone.  I've learned that Love really does conquer all.  There are times that consequences are needed but Love is always present and I desire to show the two of you that in all that I do.

  Other days the moments fly by.  I blink and it's bedtime.  Those are the nights that our bedtime routine takes a little longer, we rock for a few more minutes, we sing just a couple more songs.  Those nights, you'll look up and find tears in my eyes and I assure you that they are only there because of how happy I am - only there because of how much I love you.  I try to memorize the smell of your hair, the way you hold my hand, the crinkle of your nose, the way you body curls up on mine...it's all going by too fast and I don't want to forget a single second of it.
  This past week, as I was sharing about His love with the ESL class, the realization of each of your salvations weighed heavily on my heart.  The realization that it's truly out of my control - that it's a decision you must make all on your own...it's a hard thing for this momma to accept.  I desire above all else for you to each come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  I pray that the stories, crafts, songs, and prayers lead you towards questions that only He can answer.  I ask Him daily to prepare your hearts to love Him alone.  
 Girls, no matter how much your daddy and me love you - you are loved infinitely more by the God that we serve.  We are proud of who you are and how He already uses you to bring glory to Himself.  No matter how old you are - you will always be our baby girls. 

August 23, 2014

Hide & Seek

"Hey Momma, where should I hide?" "Ummm, I think I will hide in the closet - K momma?  Thats where I hide cause it's a good spot."

Some conversation similar to this happens every time we play hide & seek - which has recently become a favorite game.  Ryleigh always tells us where she'll be hiding and when it's our turn to hide - she wants us to hide in the same place.  I've tried the past few times to explain how talking about our hiding places defeats the purpose of the game - but so far it's been to no avail.

Today, as we had our 483rd conversation about where she was going to hide, I wondered if God ever had those same thoughts about me.  If He ever chuckles or smiles to Himself when I try to hide or cover up something...thinking "Nickolee, I already know - there's no point in playing that game".

Now that I think about it, probably not.  I'm thinking if He smiles, it's a sad smile...the kind of smile that would mean...
You're smarter than this.
Why are you taking this path...again?
Have you already forgotten what I've taught you?

I'm reminded of John 1 where Jesus tells Nathaniel "I saw you before Phillip ever came to you".

"I saw you before"

He sees
He seeks
He finds
He knows

Hiding is a waste of time and energy.  Covering up my sin is useless. 

Glorifying Him

What a better use of this life...of His gift...of His love.

August 22, 2014

Things are Changing

Years before we met, God was preparing our hearts for serving Him overseas.  Since 2010, the Lord has led us to have a deep burden for the Mahafaly people of SW Madagascar.  We have learned more than we could ever put into words about Madagascar, the Mahafaly people, and ourselves during the past three years.
IMB Appointment Service - Nov 2010

This past April, the Lord started preparing us for a change.  We weren't sure what that would look like and we each took turns being resistant to the idea of it.  However, when we were approached by leadership to take on another role on the island, we knew that this is what the Lord had been getting us ready for.  When we return in 2015 after our stateside, our new title will be - Engagement Strategist.  Our new home will be back where we did language school in 2011 - in Antsirabe.  Leadership felt that our individual and combined strengths would fit well into this position and we agree.

Our new focus will be on locating, mapping, researching, & assessing the lostness of the unreached people groups that have a population of 100,000 or less.  There are about 25 different groups all over the island.  Steve's main task will involve a good bit of travel to extremely hard to reach areas - after he finds out exactly where some people groups are located.  Once the groups are located, Steve will do research, prioritize, and seek out partners (local churches and/or US churches) to engage these groups.  I will be in charge of contacting & facilitating churches who are wanting to partner in reaching these different groups.  I will also be keeping partner churches up to date and organizing logistics of mission trips.  

We knew from the beginning that reaching the Mahafaly would never be something we would accomplish on our own or even with our teammates - that it would have to be a result of God moving through reproducing churches and nationals reaching nationals.  Just this past year we've watched God burden & move through 3 different church groups to go outside of their comfort zone and share the gospel.  The mindset of knowing that we can not do this on our own does not change going into this new position.  This could easily be a very overwhelming job but we serve a God who does not get overwhelmed.  He knows every person in every group and He desires for each of them to praise His name.  
Roberts Family - our church in Tulear - July 2014
Will you help that vision be a reality?  We will continue to need your prayers and encouragement.  We will need committed long term partnerships from churches & associations.  We will also need you to be faithful in giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.  You, as a part of the body of Christ, play a VITAL role in reaching Madagascar for Christ.

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