Friday, March 23, 2012

On The First Generation

"You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments."
Ex. 20:5-6

Today I got to spend the day watching my sweet nephew. I sat and grinned from ear to ear, as he told me his ABCs, counted past 10, and spelled out his name while I wrote it in chalk. He is the brightest two year old I know, of course. He would fuss about going inside or taking his nap. I told him no fussing, but to use his words to tell me what was wrong. Though my words bursting past his fleshly tears probably didn’t feel nice in the moment, he obeyed. I pray that he knows a life that comes from obedience—that he doesn’t chose to challenge it the way I have, the way most of us first generationers do.

Recently, I have had to sift my way through some consequences of generational sin. Fear which enslaves. Lies which consume. Thoughts which plague my mind over and over again. Some consequences flooding my life as a result of decisions that were not even mine, others decisions that were. I am by no means saying a genertaional curse is a means to sin. Scripute is very clear that  the generational curse is practiced, not directly passed down; rather it must be willingly accepted.  

Num 14:18 'The LORD is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear {the guilty,}visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth }generations.
"The generational curse is on everyone who is guilty of their own sinful behavior. The curse comes in the form of natural consequences as a result of the modeled behavior from parents and society. When a son or daughter faces the building of their moral inventory on the backdrop of willful rebelling to God, their job proves difficult. There are natural consequences to the one that chooses a sinful life apart from God. The decisions that each and every Christian and non-Christian parent makes will influence the future decisions of our children and society. Many of the issues we face today as a Christians are a result of the decisions the generation ahead of us made. We all pay for our own sins in the curse."

Gal 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.

Let’s just be real: being the first generation to be redeemed is just plain hard. Not impossible, but hard.

I was telling a friend how smart and obedient my nephew is. She reminded me that this is how the Lord intended for it to be when you have parents who take the time to teach you the ABCs…to ask you how to spell your name over and over and over until you know it by heart. Who sit at night and rock you to sleep, praying for your future spouse. Parents who discipline you because they love you so much—it’s not pleasant, but it is in this moment you are most sure of their for you. The attitudes, discipline, and Truth passed down from our parents can radically impact our lives and our childrens lives.

Today, seeing this precious boy’s joy and obedience made my battle as a first generationer all the more light. Today, I got a glimpse of the fruit seen in the generation to come, fruit that may not come apart from my labor. Fruit that is so worth the hard I am in right now. The fruit for which I will continue to labor, with JOY. Fruit that I pray my kids will know.

Today, I am both challenged and encouraged. Challenged in the areas of my life yet to be fully surrendered to obedience. Challenged in my desire to know Christ above my flesh. Challenged in walking in the newness which has been lavished upon me. Challenged in humility. Challenged in the wrestling. I refuse to pass death to my children. This is a high calling, one which I cannot yet fully understand. I will continue to wrestle the curse. To replace the tendencies of my flesh with the disciplines of the Spirit. To replace the lies with Truth. I will cling to the hope that one day out of these ashes new life is born, beauty for ashes.

Just like my brother has fought for the fruit which I now see in that precious two-year-old heart, I pray that you give me the same willingness to wake up everyday and chose to walk in the newness. To chose to make different decisions in my life which continue to break the chains handed to me over the years.

 Oh, glorious One—thank you that out of the ashes, you make us new!!! Thank you that my kids may never carry the weight and guilt of the generations previous. Thank you that my grandkids will know even less of it. Thank you for making me new.

Thank you for using a day with a precious two year old to encourage me in the battle, knowing that this fight is no longer just about me—it is about the generations to come. Fighting this battle is demanded, even when I don’t feel like it. Thank you for Jesus—the only way we are made new.

The nations will see your righteousness and all the kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.                                  
                                                                                -Isaiah 62:2

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Change Ahead

Change has always been bittersweet for me.

The past several weeks of my life have thrown me into that place of desperate dependency. Sweet with a sting of bitter.

I spent a good amount of time enslaved to a cycle—a never-ending cycle from which I could find no relief. My time was consumed by things that mattered to me far less then the ones that did. Thus, I had a decision to make. Something had to give. Classes. Work. Lightbearers. Fellowship. Serving the Church. International Students. Grades. Future Career. Time with the Lord. Time to do simple things—like blog!!

All of that to say, I had to process through a lot. Talk through a lot. Seek wise counsel. Trust that the Lord knows what I need far better then I do, even when society is screaming in my ear that I am crazy. Even when my own blood decides I am crazy.

I made the decision to withdraw from classes for the semester. To change my major. To complete my degree through College Plus. To look for a new job that is far less demanding with better pay. To do life with a precious family of eleven. To pursue knowledge of running a home, raising babies and helping my husband, Lord willing, over the knowledge found in a classroom.

Crazy, I know. Much of my family thinks I have truly gone off the deep end. It hurts, and yet it is in that place the refinement takes place.

So I run to His word:
"Large crowds were walking along with Jesus, when he turned and said: You cannot be my disciple, unless you love me more than you love your father and mother, your wife and children, and your brothers and sisters. You cannot come with me unless you love me more than you love your own life. You cannot be my disciple unless you carry your own cross and come with me.” Luke 14: 25-27

And yet, this is exactly where the Lord wants me. I have become so very dependent on Him. And I have seen His provision in such tangible ways.

One result of my decision was financial independence for the first time in my life. Finances were not looking so good. That was the reality. Literally, I had ONE DAY to get a job. ONE DAY. If I wanted to fulfill a certain deadline, I needed to create a resume, get it out, get an interview, and get the job in ONE DAY. In my mind, I had already decided I would just take out a loan. There was no way that could all happen in one day. Realistically it was impossible.

But I had forgotten that I serve the God for whom nothing is impossible. A dear friend looked into my eyes and told me I was not going to take a loan. I was going to PRAY. I laughed at her words of encouragement. I even remember thinking…that’s great and I will, but come on…there’s no way. How naïve of me. Oh LORD, I believe. Help my unbelief.

Sure enough, the very next afternoon I got a call, got an interview, and got the job. I began my new job at Everyhing Mary this past Monday. I LOVE it. It was solely the Lord—on both my end and my employers end. What a testimony to HIS faithfulness.

So here I am currently out of school, changing my major (again), working full-time, doing life with 9 little siblings up on a mountain—and I see HIS FAITHFULNESS ALL OVER THIS. Good thing He only reveals one step of the process at a time, or else I could not handle it. This was certainly not my plan and yet, it’s perfect.  

In the midst of the chaos of CHANGE, the continual doubt which still hurls itself at me over the decisions I have made, I heard Him so clearly—it was as though He were sitting right next to me, telling me “Well done, daughter, well done.”

My time is beginning to line up so much more with the things to which God has called me. I am finishing my degree this year to honor my family. I am working a great job with sweet fellowship and great potential. I am learning from a mom of nine everything from home-schooling, to raising boys different from girls, to making laundry detergent, to the reality of adoption, to serving others and on and on. I am still a busy “mummy” to two precious girls who continue to bring so much joy. Life is changing, but He is nothing but faithful.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Headed to South Asia!

In less than 3 months I am headed overseas...FINALLY!!!

It is with great fear and excitment that I am anticipating this trip. This excitment is overwhleming. The fear is paralyzing. Combined makes for an interesting thought process the past few weeks.

The fear is that I won't ever want to come back to life in America. It is easy to say in anticipation but impossible to deny once I know. That place of wisdom brings great fear. Praise be to the one whose perfect love casts it out.

The excitment is found in that reality--that I will continue to fulfill the role for which I was created, glorifying Him in South Asia.

Here is a letter I sent out to family and friends about my trip:

I am writing to share a brief update on life here in Fayetteville, as well as to extend an invitation to support me both financially and prayerfully for my upcoming mission trip this May.

Since returning to Fayetteville this past fall to continue my studies at the U of A, I have found my “home” among the international students on campus this year. The majority of my time that is not spent working at the hospital or studying for organic chemistry is spent hanging out with my two “daughters” and their friends. I am a part of a program on campus, where I get to host two international students, both of whom began calling me “Mummy” within hours of our first meeting. Both of my girls are here studying for the year, one is from South Korea and the other is from Tunisia. Watching them experience American culture for the first time has been hilarious at times, moments I would not trade for anything. We have laughed a lot—and cried, just a little family doing life together. Their personalities differ greatly, and each have taught me and challenged me in ways that I never expected, yet God knew exactly what He was doing in putting us together, and I know I have only seen a glimpse of His plan.

I have also been blessed to spend another year as part of Lightbearers Discipleship Program. As a part of the program, I have experienced the great joy, messiness, and refinement of living in biblical community with my three roommates. I am also being mentored individually, and attending a discipleship class weekly, where seasoned teachers of the Word are walking us through Applied Theology this semester. In addition to my rent money going to fund missions work in the 10-40 window, at the close of school in May, I will be going with my roommates and several others to serve in South Asia for two weeks.

As God has really begun to burden my heart for the nations the past year or two, the anticipation of this trip is growing daily. I am praying that God would use this as a springboard in my life, showing me more of what my future calling to serve overseas in a long-term capacity upon graduation might look like. I am excited to serve these people, to learn about their culture, to do daily life with them, being refined by their humility and faith in the process. This year, my faith has been challenged from learning about Jesus’ heart for the nations—and I am excited to experience His love for His sons and daughters across the world in a tangible way.     

 Lightbearers has several global partners located in South Asia whom we will be encouraging and assisting with what they are already doing in this region. We will be spending time serving in an orphanage as well as getting to know the people, many of whom rarely see a white person. We will have opportunities to testify to God’s faithfulness in our own lives, preaching the Gospel to a people hungry for Truth. In addition, we are hoping to host a medical clinic and help out where we are needed.

The reality is, I probably won’t go change the lives of thousands of women in South Asia in two weeks. But I pray that God would use me to impact eternity in some way—and that my life would look different as a result of this trip. That He would use it to continue shaping and molding my heart for the nations. Whether or not I am called to return, I honestly don’t know—but I do know that His love for the nations echoes from Genesis to Revelation and my job is simply to obey what He has called me to do right now—and that is to go serve in South Asia this May.

In preparation for this trip, I need your help in two ways: financial support and prayer. The total cost of the trip is about $3,000 which covers travel expenses, meals, accommodations, and supplies. The first $1,500 is due by March 15th in order to book the plane tickets. The second half will be due May 1st. If you feel led to support me, please make checks payable to Lightbearers ministries and mail to PO Box 9911 Fayetteville, AR 72703. For tax purposes, do not include my name anywhere on the check, but just write it on the envelope. All donations are tax deductible.

Please be praying for the people of South Asia, for the Holy Sprit to begin to prepare their hearts. Also, please lift up Lightbearers Ministries, specifically for unity among the team of students and leaders who will be accompanying me in this journey. Pray for our financial needs to be met fully and quickly, as well as for the Lord to just continue to burden our hearts for this nation and the people we will be doing life with. 

With Love,
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”                                                                              -Isaiah 61:1