Where Would You Like To Go?

September 29, 2013

Fear (Part 2)

If you missed part 1 check it out here.

Over the past two years, fear has become a common enemy to me.  It makes me want to compromise, run away, or throw my hands up in defeat.  I can't grasp how fear can be a part of this dream of being a missionary, of being where He has called me to live my life.  How do I live my life when I can not speak fluently?

I recently read this via a blog...
"Every time I get ready to try something new I hear the question, “What if it doesn’t work?” And the answer is, of course, “I’ll look like a fool.” Over time I’ve come to believe this—that’s not a good enough reason not to do it.  Sometimes looking like a fool comes with the territory of God-sized dreams.  Noah built an ark. Moses wandered in the desert. Jesus hung on the cross. And those who watched shook their heads and muttered words like “failure” and “fool.” Little did they know. Is that you today? Have you stepped out in faith and wondered why you feel like a fool? Have you come across failure like a roadblock in your path? Keep going, friend.  Instead of fleeing from the feeling of being foolish, lean into it.  And what seems like your most foolish moments may turn out to be your wisest. As Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”...Don’t give up. Or give in. Or compromise. Or quit.  You’re going to make it. And it’s going to make you…not into a fool, not into a failure, but into a victorious follower. " Holly Gerth

I believe this is truth - that it is backed with Scripture...I am not to where I can say I live it out as truth - at least not every day - but I do believe it. 
God has also spoken quite loudly to my heart that His Spirit and a spirit of fear do not coexist - they oppose one another.  He has given me His Spirit - one that is full of power, love, and self control (2 Timothy 1:7).  I know that He works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).  I am very aware that the Malagasy language keeps me humble - there seems to be no room whatsoever for pride.  Perhaps that's part of this picture - part of this calling.  He's reminding me yet again that in my weakness, His power is made perfect (2 Corinthians 12:9). 
Thankful for victory over fear - grateful that I know I can claim it in Jesus' name and that it is mine for the taking.  Joyous over the Spirit He has given me as His child - one that is full of His power, His love, and His self control.  Humbled that He desires for His fruit to grow in my life and that He never gives up on me.  
Blessed to know that His PERFECT LOVE drives out ALL fear.

September 28, 2013

Fear (Part 1)

I guess I didn't grow up with a lot of "fear".  My parents didn't allow us to watch scary movies and as I grew up I pretty much refused to watch anything that could possibly be in that genre.  One of the biggest fears that some of my friends had was all to often associated with public speaking and I personally have always enjoyed it.  Of course there are the deeper fears - the fear of being truly known, of not being loved, of divorce, of death, and the list could continue...but in our house - fear wasn't given much recognition.  I credit that to the grace and mercy of my Savior and the wisdom He imparted to my parents.  I don't take it lightly or for granted.

My biggest dream growing up was to be a missionary in Africa.  2 1/2 years ago, that became a reality.  Never, as in LITERALLY ever, did it cross my mind that I would face fear upon being where I had always wanted to be...yet, I feel I've faced fear more in the past 2 years than in my first 26 combined.

I mentioned I enjoyed public speaking.  I also have a degree in Education and I adore teaching.  Funny thing though...you can't do either of the above when you talk like a two year old (and let's be honest that's being very generous on most days).  English is not a language that is spoken very often here in Madagascar.  French is popular and Malagasy is the official language (yeah, there's not a Rosetta Stone for that!).  After studying Malagasy for 6 months and making mistakes like saying "I am going to family" instead of "I am going to church"  or "I would like the meat shirt" instead of "I would like the red shirt", and the list could go on...we moved closer to our people group where a Southern Dialect of Malagasy is spoken which is essentially a melting pot of several different groups of dialects...think 40 - 60% differing vocabulary.  The word for "believe" is suddenly the word for "drink" and so on and so forth.

Fear was found in opening my mouth (and some days still is).  Fear was occasionally disguised by my laughing at myself in front of the people but getting home and crying over it.  Ask anyone who has learned another language and they'll say "practice, practice, practice" or "immerse yourself!" which is easier said than done when you have the national people laughing in your face at your pronunciations or confusion over what's going on. 

Fear strips you.  It bares your soul to anyone who is around you.  Fear makes you look like a fool.  

And honestly?  That's absolutely no fun...

(Part 2 coming your way on Monday)

September 26, 2013

Praying for You

Prayer is easily one of the first things that comes to mind today.  We have heard from literally 100+ people who are praying for our family and I'm sure more that we are not even aware of...(chills).  The slightly ironic thing is that often it becomes something we as Christians or even "good Southerners" simply say.  "I'll be praying for you" it comes as easily as "Bless your heart".  It more often than not falls under the category of "good manners".  Am I right?

I am sure that I have fallen into that trap - making the comment lightly instead of truly intending to follow through with it.  Or perhaps, I had the best of intentions, yet just never did.  I believe that it sin.  My "yes" was not a "yes", I lied - unintentionally or intentionally - I did.  I made a promise to a person & to God and didn't live up to it.  Have I been forgiven?  Absolutely.  Should I have any desire to make the same mistake again? Absolutely not.

I can remember my mom bringing this to my attention at a young age - she was simply trying to share something the Lord had laid on her heart to do, but it has stuck with me.  She said that she tries her best when telling someone she will pray for them, to go ahead and pray right then - aloud, with the person.  Circumstances may not always allow for it, but the majority of the time it can.  It helped her to know she had already followed through with the promise and it helped engrain in her mind to do it again.  Both of my parents were and still are such great examples of prayer warriors.  They have always taught me the power & importance of prayer.  When I hear the verse
"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."  Matthew 6:12-14
I think of them - I have never seen them pray with prideful hearts but always sincerely & humbly coming to the Father whether someone was watching them or not.

Growing up with this as my background, I often wondered why so often I could hear someone say:
"I can't do much, but I'll be praying."
"There's nothing we can do, except pray"
"I'm sorry I can't do more, but we are praying"
Now, I don't think that everyone who says these things means them in some horrible way (I too have made comments such as these), but I've found that often Satan uses tiny lies/half-truths that still "sound good" to cause us to stumble or to have others stumble.  Can you see how those could sound badly to someone?  That those statements (and others like them) could make someone believe that we actually devalue prayer?  Statements such as those often make me think someone thinks of prayer as a last resort - as a last ditch effort - or simply because they can't "do" anything better.  WHAT A LIE!  Oh friends, how powerful the opportunity of prayer is!!!

Psalm 107:28-30 "Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven"

John 14:13-14 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it

Acts 9:40 But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.

Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

James 5:14-16 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray 
over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another,that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Over and over and over in His word, He tells us about the power of prayer.  The power to raise from the dead, to heal, to calm waves, to forgive, to receive grace, to have mercy, to be enveloped in peace, and on and on and on. We are to DEVOTE ourselves to it - for it to be the constant state we are in, to pray without ceasing.  We should share our requests with others freely and trust that they are being faithfully lifted up.  For He hears our prayers and things are changed through His power!!

I can't type this blog without mentioning that there are often times when what we pray for doesn't happen.  It may seem that God has not heard or that He doesn't care.  Those are also both lies.  He can not contradict Himself - He is TRUTH.  So, through reading His word, I know that He does hear and He does care.  He also does things to glorify Himself and draw people to His side and honestly, that's not always the easiest way to pray over things.  This doesn't mean that we decide not to pray!

Truth to take away?  Pray without ceasing friends - it is vital to our relationship with Him.  And a HUGE thank you for all of those who have been lifting us up - we do not take it for granted.

Thursday Link Up

Mississippi Women Bloggers

1.  What is your favorite thing to do in your hometown?
Hang out with my family & friends - preferably on a back porch :)
2. What is the best vacation spot in Mississippi?
I'm not sure we have ever taken a vacation in Mississippi...
3. Tell us about the most fun date night idea in Mississippi.
My personal favorite is something planned with lots of significance/memories in the places you go - however, if you're looking for something across the board - I'd love to go to one of the Viking Cooking Classes - everyone says they are AWESOME!
4.  What is one fun fact that very few people know about you?
That I really enjoy shooting guns (hunting, targets, etc)
5.  Who is your favorite sports team (if you have one) and how did it start?
The only one I ever cared about of my own accord would be the WL Knights (high school) and the MC Choctaws (college) BUT now that I'm married I'd have to say Ole Miss and Georgia Bulldogs :)
6.  What are your top three “Best Eats” in Mississippi?
1. O'Charley's - no judgement here, I know it's a chain but it's what I miss the most
2. Ole Farm Beef House - Meridian, MS - favorite growing up and their cheese soup is awesome
3. Shorewood Inn - Philadelphia,MS - best seafood in MS!
7.  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
If the Lord wills, we'll have a 7 year old and a 4 year old running around the bush of SW Mada with us telling everyone we meet about the good news of Jesus Christ.
8.  If you could choose an actress to play you in real life, who would you choose and why?
Candace Cameron (from Full House), I loved watching her growing up and there were times that people even thought we favored one another - probably not so much anymore...BUT she (like her brother Kirk) have taken a firm stand in the Entertainment Industry for Christ
9.  What is a southern tradition you and your family have? 
Not sure if it's "southern" or not but I loved grabbing cappuccinos from the gas station and driving around listening to Christmas music & looking at Christmas lights.
10.  List 5 things on your Bucket List you hope to do before you die.
1. Watch my children come to know Christ as their personal Savior
2. Be present when a Malagasy national comes to know Christ
3. Tour the Holy Land
4. Visit Paris
5. Go on a cruise with Steve

September 25, 2013

Well...What Do You Know?

One of my best friends, Natalie, did a blog today and asked me to answer the questions too - and since I'm sitting here  still on "bed-rest" (but thankfully not strict bed rest anymore!)  I thought I'd oblige :)   I apologize in advance because tomorrow you'll be seeing a post similar for a MS Women's blog link up - but guess if you don't know much about me - you'll get to learn a lot of random things today and tomorrow!!

1) If you could be any animal on the planet, what would you be and why?
    Can I choose none?  HA!  I'm not exactly crazy about any type of animal but I guess it would be pretty cool to fly and in that case I'd have to choose a bald eagle!

2)What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
   "Look it up for yourself" - this was often in reference to my questions about a sermon, WWJD type statement, or a personal belief - my parents directed me to the Bible and told me to never believe something simply because someone else said it (no matter who the person was) to always look it up & study God's word for myself.  I truly have come to love this now that I'm in a foreign country because the people we work with are very eager to believe anything a foreigner tells them - I can't tell you how many times I've said "don't believe it because I'm saying it - look in God's word!"

3)What is your favorite TV show of all time?
I think it would have to be a tie between Full House & then Nick at Nite TV shows - you know all the oldies?  Dragnet, Dick Van Dyke Show, I Dream of Jennie, etc

4)If you could have any job in the world, and it didn't matter how much money you made or what qualifications you needed, what would it be?
Exactly what I'm doing - being a wife & mommy + a missionary in Africa :)

5) What is your favorite holiday movie?
  I love books which may play into my favorite but I adore the Polar Express...it's fantastic!

6) Suggest a new blog for me to read.
I'm going to have to say the sweet friend that tagged me to do this post -

 Natalie over at Life As I Know It, she is a talented writer and has such a fun way of telling a story.  I'm grateful she does a blog to help me keep up with her while we're on opposite sides of the globe!

7) What is something you are loving right now?
 Skype & FaceTime - I'm usually always thankful for these so that we can communicate with family back at home in the States but right now they are REALLY my favorites because I'm away from my husband and sweet little girl - thankfully I get to see her (although a bit blurry) and "tuck her in" every night even while being far away!

8) What is your favorite nail polish color?
  If it's OPI - I am a fan, but my all time favorite is Cajun Shrimp - think gorgeous coral color!

9)What is your favorite season?
HA - this answer changes upon where I am living but being in Madagascar it's our winter (June - August) because it's the only time all year I can wear my hair down and keep a little bit of makeup on my face!!  There's even occasionally the night we can break out our jeans, jackets, & a blanket!  It's perfect!

10) Tell me something that most people don't know about you.
 These are the hardest for me to answer...I guess that means I talk or over share too much!  How about that I modeled for a local magazine when I was like 3?  My mom still has the magazines to prove it.  It was one of those everything in one children's magazines - toys, educational items, clothes, etc.

Thanks for reading!

Dear Lyllian

Lyllian Abigail,
   You are such a gift.  Your daddy and I had no idea if we'd ever be given the opportunity to be mommy & daddy to TWO babies and yet here we are.  Sweet girl, you are a trooper & quite strong willed I'm thinking.  We have had an adventure already and you are not even out here in the world with us yet!  Your big sister is beyond ready (at least she thinks she is) to see you and I think you must be ready to see her.  However, we need you to stay right where you are for a few more months.  You have made sure that I have had more rest over the past few months than I knew was even possible - I guess you are getting me caught up for all the late nights and keeping up with my two girls in the days to come.
  We're not sure what each day will bring but we do know that His compassions never fail and that His mercies are new every morning.  I don't know what the Lord has in store for you baby girl, but I can promise you it is perfect and all for His glory.  There have been so many lifting you up before Him for the past 5 months and you are already blessed because of it.
  Any time there has been a worry or concern that has come into my heart, the Lord has given you the ability to kick or roll around - reassuring me that Perfect Love casts out all fear and that you are doing just fine in there...just perhaps a little bored and ready to see all these faces that talk & sing to you all the time.  Speaking of singing, your big sister has deemed "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" as your favorite song.  She adores singing it to you and I think you are pretty fond of that time too.
 We can not wait to meet you.  To see those gorgeous eyes of yours, that Ryleigh thinks will be purple, and to bear witness to the marvelous creation that you are by our Father.  I wonder how different you will be, who you will favor, what kind of personality you will have because whatever type it is I have a feeling it will be a strong one.
 Sweet girl, if there is anything in the world I could tell you and want you to remember every day of your life it is that "the Lord is your portion".  He is all you need, all any of us need.  Right now as you are growing - it's because of Him and His ability as Creator.  When you join us in this world, He will remain as your All in All.  I promise you that I will do everything in my weakness & in His power to teach you that truth.  My prayer is that as you grow, you will come to know these truths and will come to know Him as your personal Savior.  There is not a thing in the world that would mean more to your mommy & daddy.  I know, from lots of experience, that I will make mistakes.  I will fail.  But, oh baby girl, He NEVER will.  His love endures forever, and to every extent that I have that same love within me - I will love you forever too.

Looking forward to January,

September 24, 2013

Tuesday Tidbits

"Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord."
 2 PETER 1 : 2

This is from A Holy Experience a few weeks back but it still is ringing true...
A Prayer for the Afflicted….” She begins slow. The Farmer grins: “Appropriate.” The Lord looked down from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he viewed the earth…“ And we’re all a bit crazy and we’re all a bit afflicted and we have a God who sees every bit of it and takes all of us. We have a God who sees hearts like we see faces, a God who hears ache like we hear voices, and we have a God who touches wounds like we touch skin. God sees it all — and He will see to all of it. No one’s crazy can change God’s crazy love."
I have really really enjoyed going through Jesus Calling Devos this year - this one is also from about 2 weeks ago but I needed it then, and I need it today...

"RECEIVE MY PEACE. It is My continual gift to you. The best way to receive this gift is to sit quietly in My Presence, trusting Me in every area of your life. Quietness and trust accomplish far more than you can imagine: not only in you, but also on earth and in heaven. When you trust Me in a given area, you release that problem or person into My care. Spending time alone with Me can be a difficult discipline, because it goes against the activity addiction of this age. You may appear to be doing nothing, but actually you are participating in battles going on within spiritual realms. You are waging war—not with the weapons of the world, but with heavenly weapons, which have divine power to demolish strongholds. Living close to Me is a sure defense against evil."
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” JOHN 14 : 27