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Objects in the Mirror are Closer than they Appear

June 6, 2011

Objects in the Mirror are Closer than they Appear

I drove home from church and glanced in the rear view mirror to see if Kavin fell asleep in the car seat.  The warning “objects in the mirror are closer than they appear” popped in my head.  Something so routine prompted a reflection.

When Kavin struggled for life the days after his birth, doctors would not tell us how long he would stay in the hospital; or when we would know if he would survive; if his lung would ever develop; if he had brain damage from the lack of oxygen.  So many questions and no answers.

A month is not a long time in the scheme of things, but when every moment, every breath is weighed with the unknowns of life, of time, of hope… not knowing how long the trial will last makes the longevity of it seem more perilous.

Yet, had I known from the beginning that he would be there a month, maybe I would have missed seeing God as clearly as I did… because I wouldn’t have needed Him as desperately.  The thing is, we never know how long a trial will last.  We don’t know what life is like on the other side of a hard season.  Is it a small wasteland or years of wandering through the wilderness?  Will we die in the wilderness or enter the promise land?

I am reminded, however, that the God who created the world and my very life, sees all that is ahead and is with me now.  He knows the boundaries of the various trials we travel through and sustains us in the moment.

I also see now that in the moment of peril, I quickly enter into jittery impatience, wanting to push through to get the hard part over with.  In that determination, I sometimes throw a proverbial temper tantrum and then laugh at myself when I realize that the closure of the difficult time was closer than it appeared.

Instead of an object, my imagination thinks:  seasons in the mirror are closer than they appear.  Life is in seasons.  Some are treacherous, some relaxing, but one thing we can be sure of, one season leads to the next.  As the Apostle Paul wrote, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”  (Ephesians 5:15-17, NIV) Let us not get so caught up in the difficulty, that we miss making the most of the moment.  There is always something we can do to shine our light to others… even when we sit in a dark cave ourselves.

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Jesus: My Stillness

April 20, 2011

I sat in silence in my prayer closet: the floor of our 1/2 bath off the kitchen.  The only place in the house I am not distracted with to-dos and un-dones.  I close my eye to nestle into God’s presence.  Just to be still.  Listen.  He has heard enough from me today.  I need to hear from Him.  Then a picture comes that explains.  He shows me my state… and His power.

It is night-time.  The sky a deep blue with thick dominating clouds tinted deep silvers where the moon highlights their shape.  I sit in the front of a little fisherman boat holding onto the oar, wearing a thick jacket and jeans.  All alone.  A storm rages around me as if waves are dancing to a climatic clashing orchestra of clanging instruments.  I need not look around and fall dismayed.  I know there is nowhere to go as the threatening waves swirl upwards and declare total destruction.

I watch the front of the boat move softly along the water as dry as a vessel in a pond. I glide along in total peace.  Each movement unpredictable, yet stable and secure.  Perfect stillness infuses my inner being as the gentle breeze pushes me forward. Smooth waters invisible to the eye lead me on the course of His choosing.

If for a moment I pose a doubt or fear the waves; if for a moment I mistrust or calculate in self-sufficiency, the salty waters would rip through me like abrasive sand paper and destroy my life completely.

The secret is not my navigator strategy or assessment of weather patterns.  The secret is not my tenacity to dodge 100 foot walls of gnarly waves.  The secret is remaining surrendered, secure, and confident in the One who created both the sea and me from the depths of the earth.

The Name of the Lord is a strong tower.  The righteous run into it and are safe.- Psalm 18:10

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A Year with Kavin in Review

March 23, 2011

It has been a while since I have wrttien publicly.  Just needed a break to allow God to work in me in the quiet places of my heart.  Although I am still in the thick of this private journey of transformation in this season, an awesome experience happened today that I must share with those of you who cared enough to pray us through the firey ordeal almost a year ago.

———-

So, Kavin had a scheduled special xray for his diaphragm at the Kaiser hospital on Sunset, where he spent the first month of his life.  I honestly did not want to go today.  Not because it jarred us out of his normal nap routine, but because it shook me back to a place of remembrance.  I started crying this morning even before we lef the house.  Mixed emotions.  Mostly grateful, but some I can’t even explain. Like going back to the that place somehow hit a bruised part of my soul.  It hurt.

I rushed out of the house to make the 9am appointment.  Rush hour traffic, no fun.  One the way down I prayed and listened to the Christian station to try to get focused for the day.  As I pulled up and drove into the parking structure for the hospital, the Spirit nudged in the way He does,  “don’t see this place as a negative thing.  This place is like an alter of remembrance, a celebration pillar of what I have done.”  Peace.  The same cloud of peace that carried us through those tough uncertain weeks washed over me.

We made our way to the appointment and were attended to by an Indian middleaged man, who was a bit ackward and shy at first.  However, Kavin’s smile and scrambled words quickly got him out of his shell.  We chit chatted throughout the procedure and as he walked me out to the waiting room again, our conversation turned serious.  He opened up to me about the desires of his heart and about the gal that he is living with.  I encouraged him to do what would be most pleasing to God and He would reward and guide him.

During the video x-ray, called a florascopy, the radiologist said that Kavin’s diaphragm looks like it is working well, praise the Lord!  A layer of relief and weight lifted from my heart that I didn’t even know I carried.  Thank You, Jesus.

The picture the surgeon sent us on 4.12.10

I decided to get a cup of coffee on the way back to the car.  As I walked up to the line, I noticed one of the attending surgeons for Kavin was in line in front of me!  What?  Of all the times he could come to the coffee stand!  I was so jazzed to show him Kavin and what a joy our baby boy is.  We enjoyed talking about the goodness of life and our miracle.  He ended up buying me my coffee and we greeted eachother with the “best” for the future.

As I walked back to the car with my squirmy and fussy bundle of joy (it was passed his nap time), I just spilled over the brim with gratitude that the Lord really made my “pillar of remembrance” trip into a sweet time of encouragment and healing.

The last couple weeks I have been reflecting on how much life has changed since Kavin… how much I am changing as a woman of God.  I really am a different person, being transformed from the inside out.  And I love it.  I love the woman God is creating in me.  One who is more focused on relationships rather than tasks; I am becoming a woman of perseverance rather than immediate gratification (can we say laundry? lol); my prayer life is deepening as I go about my daily “automatic” duties; I am learning my value is not in WHAT I do, but in my relationship with Christ.  Most of all, I am learning to be a servant in everything.  I thought I was.  Now I realize, I have a lot to learn yet.  When life is spent and all is said and done, I am learning that I want to say, “I followed Christ every step of the way.”  From the international fields… to the mission of the home… and what ever else God leads me to.

This year has been what seems like the most difficult year for me.  Transitioning from public ministry and working in my administrative gifts to day in and day out serving in the home- has been a journey of surrender, and yet still surrendering more.  Sometimes kicking and screaming like a two-year-old before the Lord.

This year has changed me… and I like the woman I am becoming.  Being humbled is hurtful, but in the end, I will be a vessle ready for the smith.

Thank you for praying with me and for us this past year.  Your prayers have made all the difference. AMEN!

Day at the LA Zoo- March 2011

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God’s provision in our service

December 22, 2010

Serving God

December 22, 2010

When God calls me to something, it is always beyond my natural skills or ability to achieve.  I have tried to push and produce in the flesh, but it comes up short and leaves me defeated and exhausted.  I now begin to see that when He calls, He provides His power and His Spirit.  I must yield to His provision and not depend on my own, as if serving Him requires my self-sufficiency.

When He called Joshua He said, “I will be with you where ever you go.”  (Deut 31:23) Yes.  It is true.  Where He leads, He goes there with us.

When He calls me to speak, it is His Spirit that gives me utterance.  When He calls me to pray, it is His inspiration that gives me insight.  When He calls me to give, it is His provision that is given.  When He calls me to speak, it is His words that are shared.  When He calls me to write, it is His passion that moves my fingers on the keypad.

I am relieved by this recognition.  So many times I labored to fulfill His calling on my own.  I claimed the responsibility.  Yet, the only responsibility I have in relation to my service to Him… is choosing this day whom I will serve.  As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

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Holiday Traveling Tale

December 15, 2010

Flying home alone with Kavin this week, who is eight months old now, caused a bit of anxiety.  Jason and I joked about it on the way to Pennsylvania.

“Before I was a dad I used to see a baby on the plane and think, ‘Oh great!  I will never be able to sleep now.'” He commented as we stood in line to get on the plane.  “Now we are the ones people are looking at saying, ‘Oh great!  There is a baby on the plane.”  We laughed.  Inside my mind I hoped for kind fellow travelers.

Kavin did great on the way there.  So, as I stood in line for the flight home, this time on my own, I prayed for kind travelers once again.  Thank God for His provision.  A lady and her mother befreinded me in line. They loaded first, due to the mother requiring extra assistance.  When I stepped onto the plane, I saw my new friend sitting in a seat behind her mother, “Here.  These two seats are for you,” She said as she rose and handed me my cup of coffee she carried onto the plane for me.

The flight going out of Pittsburgh was delayed, so I needed to make a mad dash to the next gate once we arrived in Vegas.  With Kavin hanging on my chest, a rolling carry-on, another bag full of blankets and snacks, and his diaper bag, I tried my best to scoop everything up and not hold back the line.  “Here.  Let me help you,” Bonnie, the grandmother whom sat in my row, said as she grabbed my bag of blankets and snacks.

Bonnie needed to make her flight too, but took the time to walk me to my gate and get me on the flight.  “Wow, Lord.  Thanks!”  I said as I walked down the ramp and loaded onto the booked plane from Veags to L.A.  I could only find one window seat… the last seat in the back of the plane.

The flight attendants assisted me to load my bags.  Sole, a beautiful blue-eyed Puerto Rican young woman with long brown hair, perfect french tip nails, and sporting a Luis Vitton hand bag sat next to me.  “You and I will get very close this short flight,” I joked with her as I explained that I will be breast feeding Kavin for most of the trip.

Shortly into the flight Sole began to tell me about her boyfriend she was on the way to visit in Los Angeles.  As we shared our stories a bit, she continued to open up, and I found myself counseling this younger woman about life, love, and hard decisions.  The Spirit began to prod me with something to say, but in my mind it sounded judgemental and harsh.  So, as I listened to her, I wrestled back and forth with the Lord, “Do You really want me to say that?”  I asked over and over.  Finally I conceded.

“Sole, can I say something?  It may sound harsh, but I think you need to hear it.” I asked.

“Sure.”  She said as she genuinly turn her countenance in interest to my insight.

“Bottom line is, I think you are focusing on the wrong things in your life.  You are confused and frustrated and hurting because you have made yourself and your happiness the priority and not your relationship with Jesus.  The Word says, ‘Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.’  NOT delight in your desires and God will give you whatever you want.  If you focus on seeking Jesus, everything will fall into place.”

Whew.  Did I just say that to a stranger?  I waited for her response.  She lifted her hand as if holding a hammer and slammed it down onto an imaginary nail.  “You nailed it on the head.” She said.  “I needed to hear that.”

This morning I too am wrestling with foggy perception and frustrated with lack of clarity.  I hear my voice speaking truth into Sole’s life and realize once again that truth is universal.  All I need to do is seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto me.  The focus is Jesus.

Currently I am reading the book of Ephesians.  Paul writes, “by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.”  Today, my revelation that I am writing in brief is this:  Always be willing to speak the truth into someone’s life; accept the kindness of strangers when there is a need; and recognize God’s hand in it all.

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The Light

November 13, 2010

Kavin stares at lights. They attract him in a way nothing else does. He is mesmerized.

This week our family visited the Griffith Park Observatory. I too stare at the incredible lights and displays of God’s masterpieces in the sky. Then I gaze below at the city, seemingly twinkling with decorative displays of color.

This attraction to light reminds me of Scripture. In John Chapter One, Jesus is identified as the light that shines in the darkness. In Chapter Nine, Jesus refers to Himself as the light of the world while He was in the world. However, now that Jesus is in Heaven, Paul describes believers as lights of the world. Jesus Himself in Matthew nine says, “You are the light of the world.”

As I watch Kavin stare at the lit lamp in our living room, I wonder… what kind of light do I shine with my life? Is it dim? Bright? Am I reflecting the glory of the Lord or am I saying I follow, but allowing myself to be infiltrated by the darkness of the culture in which I live?

I want to SHINE and reflect Christ so that the world may know Him because of what He has done in me.

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His power in my weakness

November 3, 2010

The last few weeks felt like a hamster running in a wheel. So exhausted at the end of the day, but not much progress to show for it. Ashamed of my dirty home, last minute meals, and unsure of my quality of wifedom and motherhood. Frustrated and discouraged.

Yesterday it all came to a head. My sweet baby boy started teething recently… and started to deliberately disobey. I know, it sounds crazy that a seven month old can disobey, but a mother knows that twinkle of understanding when I am telling him not to do something… and then the second where he chooses to do it anyway. So, I took him from his highchair and gave him a 2 minute time-out in his pack and play with him crying and kicking. Oh! How my heart ached. I loved picking him back up and holding him.

By mid afternoon I literally wanted to scream, but I cried instead. Totally drained, insecure, and overwhelmed. “I can’t do it all. I can’t do it all.”

Decided to get a breath of fresh air and took Kavin on a walk. “Lord, I need You. Lord I need You. Lord, I need You.” No other words expressed it the way these four did, so I just repeated them, over and over, and over.

Jason arrived home and read the defeat on my tear-stained face. He took Kavin for an hour so I could just be with the Lord. “Lord, I need You. Lord, I need You. Lord, I need You.” I continued to repeat the only words I found to express my angst.

God met me there in my brokeness and I realized something. The domestic life, the life of serving in the home, is much more difficult and challenging to me than any special event I planned for 40,000 people or mission trip I organized half way around the world. This 24/7 giving, loving, caring, arranging, providing, nurturing, supporting… it takes everything that I don’t have. I realize that I need Christ’s power more than ever. I realize that His power is perfected in my weakness. I realize in my heart I place more value on ministry outside the home, when the ministry in the home is most precious.

No one else can excel at loving my husband well. No one else can set the tone of my home with the attitude of my heart. No one else can mother Kavin with the tenderness of Jesus Christ. Eternity is at stake… even when I wash the dishes.

I am thankful for God’s grace and His Word.  He speaks to me tender, loving words of encouragement.  Isaiah 40:11… “He gently leads the nursing ewes.”  2 Corinthians 12:9… ‘And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness ” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.’  And one of my life-time favs, Matthew 11:29-30, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Years ago I decided to cook my Aunt Janice a birthday dinner and invited the whole family.  I chose rather boldly, since I never cooked on a grill.  How hard is grilling hamburgers?  Hmm… too hard for me since they turned out like burnt coals.  My cousins, more like older brothers, made funny snide comments that jabbed at my value and seemed to say to my heart, “you will never be a good cook.”  I ran out the other side of the house crying and hyperventilating.  All I wanted was to bless my aunt and do something for her, since she does so much for me and the rest of the family.  She stepped out of the front door and hugged me, “you can’t be good at everything.  You are good at many things, so, this is not one of them and that is okay.”

I know I can’t be good at all things domestic… and I still don’t do the grill, but what the Lord Jesus reminded me of this week, is the attitude of my heart is what pleases Him most.  I could be Martha Stewart and still not live as a pleasing aroma.  So, I am more like the antithesis to the picture perfect housewife… but, Lord Jesus, please help me be all YOU desire me to be.  For it won’t matter when all is said and done if my socks were color coded or the dinning room table always cleared from my coupon clipping, but what will matter is me hearing Him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23).

I still desire to excel in all things, but only let ONE be my master.  The Great Redeemer.