Saturday, February 25, 2012

Life in Photos

Here are some pictures from the last couple has been busy and full of changes recently, but oh so sweet. LOVE getting to spend most of my time with my daughters and their internaitonal friends, as well as my "adopted family."

Clinging to this Truth: "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you."
-Ps. 33:8

Fun night of bowling with international friends and my daughter :)

Seoguen cooked a Korean dinner for my "adopted family!" All eleven of them!!

 My daughter Emna helping out at an international event...holding the sweet baby!

 I am tellin' ya what...this has got to be one of my greatest purchases ever...use it at least three nights a week! It even has a steamer for veggies and meat on top while it cooks the rice. Great for having my Korean friends for dinner as well!

 My daughter's 23rd birthday!!! She is older then me...crazzzzy.

LOVE making pesto!! I think I have finally perfected my recipe too!

Emna is in the kitchen! She cooked this DELICIOUS Tunisian meal for a dozen of us!! So fun. And yes that is a pot on my kitchen floor in the corner...we ran out of room on the stove, so the potatoes ended up on the floor!

Seoguen decided to put on my roommate's cute!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On A Lunchbox

It is funny how life happens sometimes. Really, I just have to laugh.

I think that sometimes the hurt is so deep, yet the reality of His faithfulness so divine that all I can do is stand in awe. This morning, I had one of these moments. I just had to laugh—to rejoice in His redemption alone.

Growing up, I dreamed of a life in which my parents were in the PTO at school, volunteered to chaperone all the field trips, and never missed the school musicals. Just the thought of someday coming home to the sweet aroma of cookies baking and toilet bowls with blue water brought me great joy. I was crying out to be a child—for that to be enough. I hungered for the little things.

I love my parents. I really do. I know that my mom worked and worked and worked to provide me with everything I ever needed. I know that being a single mom was such an impossible task—we as women just weren’t created to raise babies alone. I know that she loves me as every mother loves her daughter. And I know that no family is perfect—the aroma of sweet-smelling cookies and all. In spite of the truth I know now, there is this part of me that still craves the little things. The cookies—the blue toilet bowls—the conversations—the moments.

This morning, I had a moment. I was leaving for work and realized that I needed to bring a lunch. I was offered anything from the pantry to eat. I started making a sandwich and she came along and wrapped it up, adding a few things to complete my meal. She then realized I needed something to put it in. She reached up high and pulled out a lunchbox for me to use. She threw in some napkins reminding me that my orange will probably get messy and these will come in handy. She gave me a hug and sent me out the door.

Ten minutes later I am driving down the road and it hits me—through the tears all I can do is laugh. I can remember buying my lunch all through elementary school, even into middle school. I would sit down with my lumpy potatoes, plastic chicken nuggets, and chocolate milk carton continually glancing across the table at my friends’ lunches. Their pink and purple princess lunchboxes came full of surprises. They would pull out their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, in a perfect square with the crust cut off and sliced down the middle. They got chips and a perfectly plump chocolate treat for desert. And a juice box—always the newest and tastiest. They always had a napkin. The real sweet moms even wrote a little love note to their daughter on the napkin, or snuck in an extra treat for later.

I was so jealous. I can vividly remember crying in the bathroom one day. I just so deeply desired that kind of a lunch box—not because of the food, the colors on the box, or the napkin—I wanted the love that came in the crust-free sandwich and letters on a napkin. 

Here I am, twenty-one years old—and I finally got my lunchbox.  

And of course it wasn’t about the box—in fact it was a boy-looking lunchbox, nothing spectacular. It wasn’t even about the food—and yes, my bread still had crust on it. But it was about the moment—it was about the thought inside the lunchbox. That lunchbox was filled with love.

As I sat alone eating my lunch at work today, I simply had to bask in the moment—He is faithful to redeem the years the locust has stolen. He is faithful to meet all of my needs—even my need for a lunchbox at the age of twenty-one. And only He knows those needs, even better then I do. And oh is He faithful to provide for them, that He might be glorified in that very provision. Only He knew the joy and praise that would one day come--from a lunch box at that.

Today, I saw His intimate and persistent and selfless love for me in a lunchbox. He cares for each of us so much, that He would place me in this place on this morning with this spiritual mom to whom He told to send me off to work with a lunch in a box, and in that perfect plan which far exceeds anything I ever could have dreamed, I see HIS love for me—the depth and perfection of it. I stand in awe.

Lord, thank you for revealing your love for me in my lunch box.

I am STILL confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. -Ps. 27:13-14

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ordinary Failure [James McDonald]

I have listed to a whole lot of sermons over the past several years, but this one takes number one in my book, so I thought I’d share some of what I am learning. Funny how I was drawn right to this one.

"Ordinary Failure"
James McDonald

1.)    Prosperous times produce passive wills.
  • Notice that this is taking place in the spring—this is the time when battles are fought since they cant be fought during winter because it is rainy season. Thus, David’s kingdom is prospering since God promised He would give them victory in battles.
  • Normally, David always goes off to battle with his men, but this time he stayed back. Why??
  • Well, most likely he was tired, lazy, unengaged, passive and struggling. We can even see this when David gets up off the couch in the middle of the afternoon—he must have been sleeping or laying there getting lost in his thoughts. It’s not normal to sleep in the afternoon, especially for someone in his position.
***Few of us can handle the temptation of inactivity.
o       You start thinking about YOURSELF, asking questions like:
o       Do I really like my life?
o       Do I want a new house?
o       Maybe I need some excitement?
o       I think I am sick of my wife—I need a new one.

o       Thus, I must be proactive in my walk with God. Moral failure such as what took place in David’s life does not happen all of a sudden—it is simply revealing a whole lot of passivity and failure over a long time. Man, I see this play out in my life over and over again.

2.)    Passive wills produce overpowering emotions.
  • Obedience first—then joy will come.
  • TRAIN- The engine must be obedience and our feelings the cabuse.
  • The devil is a roaring lion, just waiting to devour us…all he needs is a little too much free time, a little indifference, a little depression, etc.
  • THIS IS A WAR!!!
    • We must have a war-time mentaility—get by on less and sacrifice more. You don’t have time to think about how YOU feel in a war.
    • You must FLEE from your enemy. That means you literally run the opposite direction!
No human has the strength to resist such over-powering emotions.
ENGAGE YOUR WILL!! Call a friend…get on your knees…worship.
  • We must deal with sin as it exists in our minds before it shows up in our behavior and hurts others. Oh, this is SUCH SWEET TRUTH!!! Do you HEAR THIS?
  • Proverbs 25:28 reminds us to “rule over our own spirits.” A city without walls is dead.

3.)    Overpowering emotions produce perverse thoughts.
  • When David heard that Bathsheba was “a wife” he should have fled…but he didn’t.
  • We must stop our thoughts from becoming actions.

4.)    Perverse thoughts produce private sin.
  • When we dwell on desire, yielding is just a matter of time!!
  • So we go through a process something like this:
    • WHY? If you only knew my past…if you could even begin to understand the pain I am in…if only you knew what happened. We all have a million “whys” to our sin.
    • HOW? When you have a why, you will find a how. I’ll just stay out a little later…I just leave when it gets dark…I just tell her I’m here and go there.
All of this is in isolation. David is away from home and doesn’t get the counsel he needs.
  • We must remember, God is not mocked. Proverbs 26:27 says whoever digs a pit will fall back into it. He gave us free will—He will allow us to chose life or death.

5.)    Private sin produces public consequences.
  • You can be sure of one thing—your sin will find you out!
  • When the weight of the sin becomes greater then the shame of being known, you will tell someone.
  • One day, we will all have to give an account…He knows us, even the motives of our heart which man might never know.