Decluttering

Reality hit close to home this past Friday. Furniture that we bought when we purchased our first home over fifteen years ago sat in a trailer on the back of our van and we hauled it off to the dump.
It took two trips. Some of it was junk that had piled up in the shed forgotten about…like an old  rusty swing set that our kids long ago stopped playing on.

In one way I was kind of relieved to see it all go. Over the years the cats have destroyed the furniture. Shredded to pieces and stuffing popping out everywhere; none of it was fit to donate to anyone. Not to mention the fact that the animals had also peed on it. Nasty.

It’s amazing how much “stuff” can accumulate over the years. I have always been one to go through my clothes and donate items I no longer want or need on a regular basis. In fact it has often happened where I have gone to wear something and realized I had given it away!  On the other hand I love shopping for clothes, so also replaced what I gave away! It’s a never ending cycle. I eventually came up with a system though; that if I bought a new shirt or pair of jeans, I gave away one already in my closet. So basically one in…one out!  However once again, I found myself going through my clothes and getting rid of what I won’t need or use in Honduras. I mean really how many flannel pj bottoms will I possibly need?

My children are doing the same thing as I write this.  Their rooms have never been so spotless.
We now have about six boxes of stuff by our front door to be donated to a charity that is coming by tomorrow and we aren’t finished yet!
We are also selling some things and using that money towards our journey.

Things here at Stratford are quickly coming to an end. It’s sad to be wrapping things up. We are going to miss our church family and friends so much and it’s going to be painful to say goodbye. Stratford has been amazing, and we have so many wonderful memories here.
We now have an end date.  June 23rd will be our last Sunday at Bethel Church. It was announced this morning. That’s only eight more Sundays! A lot of tears are going to be shed that day.  Hopefully we can hold ourselves together. It really is bitter sweet…sad to be leaving but at the same time excited and anticipating what lies ahead.

Please pray for us that we are able to raise the financial support we need to get on the field the end of July.  That is our goal. This way our children can begin school in August when it starts. We have had many promises but until our sending agency actually sees it in the account…we can’t go. There has to be proof that the money is there or that it will be. The last thing we want is to get there and have to come home for lack of funds..
If you would like to be a part of our support team, that would be so appreciated.  No amount is too small, and every amount helps us get there and helps with the work we will be doing in the Schools of hope, and will be investing in the lives of over 1500 children.

Blessings!

http://paoc.org/donate?mID=488

The diagnosis

I was 21 years old when I was diagnosed; when I learned the truth. IT now had a name. There was nothing that could change it. Things were not going to improve. In fact over time it would increasingly get worse. There was no cure- nothing they could do to stop it. It’s course unpredictable.
Neurofibromatosis.

The news penetrated my heart. It devastated me. I remember crying in the car on the way home. I felt hideous. I was a freak; a monster. My self esteem hit an all time low.
It didn’t help matters any when a good friend after I shared with her my results commented ” I hope you never plan on having kids” She went on to tell me that that child would have a fifty percent chance of having it too.
And I knew that. I definitely didn’t need the reminder. I also knew how badly I wanted a family. Her careless words crushed me.

I remember also thinking that no one would ever want me; not with this horrible NF.
Countless times I would pray and ask the Lord “why?”
At church whenever they called people to the front for prayer for those who wanted to be healed, I would go forward to the front. I knew and believed He could heal me. Yet, I would walk away. Unchanged. Discouraged.

That was a long time ago. Over twenty years have passed. Half a life time ago.
Over the years it has progressed somewhat. From time to time I still struggle with the insecurity because of it. Once in a while it gets me down. I wish it would go away and that there would be a cure.
However, I think for the most part my outlook has changed. I may have NF but it does not have me!
It doesn’t keep me from loving life! I would love to be free from it…..but I have to believe that there is a reason for it. I may never know that reason this side of heaven. I do know though that I will have my healing there for sure!

When I am feeling down about it I am always reminded of the verse that says “My grace is sufficient” It’s like God whispers these words to my heart; and I know they are true.
2 Corinthians 12:8, 9a
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time He said “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weakness, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

All of us will face trials.  It’s a part of life. None of can go through life unscathed, not touched by some sort of tragedy or illness, disappointments or hard times. I don’t know the reason for them or why they are allowed, but I do know this…
We don’t have to face them alone. Jesus never fails. He never leaves us or abandons us. He is our safe place; our shelter.  No matter where we go or what we go through, what mountains we have to climb, we can trust our lives to Him. He loves us unconditionally and everlasting.

I have shared this verse before but it is a favorite of mine.
Lam 3:22
The faithful love of the Lord NEVER ends! His mercies NEVER cease. Great is His faithfulness. His mercies begin afresh each morning.

I have seen His faithfulness in different areas of my life over the years. To name a few.. I was healed from epilepsy at 6 years old. God brought me through a ten year long battle with an eating disorder, he healed my Dad from cancer.
I did get married to an amazing man, and while we were not able to have kids of our own, He blessed us more than abundantly with three kids through adoption!
Now He has on this journey to Honduras, and He is doing a work in all of us to prepare us to go. He is with us each step of the way!

http://youtu.be/R4qPceadBMU

Easter Miracle

Yesterday, on Resurrection Sunday; the day we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead, the empty grave…. all three of my children were baptized. What an amazing beautiful time. I had a difficult time containing myself from becoming undone. In listening to their testimonies or stories as to why they wanted to be baptized, I wanted to weep with tears of joy.

I was remembering a year ago and knowing that this moment would not have been possible then…least of all our oldest. A year ago he had been headed down a dark path far from God. Back then it seemed that each week he stepped one step closer to the plans that the enemy Satan had for him. I believe that while Jeremiah 29:11 tells us all the plans God has for us that are good plans for hope and a future…that Satan has his plans too and they are the opposite of what God wants for us…plans to destroy us.

Jacob was stepping deeper into the things of the world, deeper into darkness; drugs, alcohol, porn. We had even made a trip to the police station one time and he was given a strong warning and some community service in lieu of having a record. All of this before he was fourteen years old.

Now…wow. I am overwhelmed at the goodness of God.
He is so faithful. Our prayers for Jake were answered..miraculously. And believe me, we tried it all. Nothing helped. It seemed so incredibly hopeless . There were times when I would cry out to God in despair and ask Him “How long God? How far does he have to fall?” Many, many people were praying for that boy.

There is a verse that God gave me when were going through so much with him that I clung to during those dark times.
Ezekiel 34:16a
I will search for my lost ones who have strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strenghten the weak.

Now Jacob was in the baptismal tank and who knows what God has in store for him? I know he will be a mighty man of God. Perhaps he will be a worship leader or a youth pastor ..whatever it is, it’s going to be huge!

Our middle child Benjamin did not want to go to Honduras when we first announced our plans. He was pretty adamant about that too. He became sullen about it when we talked about it and was not his usual bouncing off the walls, energetic and happy self.
Most people will remember his change of heart back in September. To see him taking yet another step in his relationship with Jesus, makes this Momma’s heart want to sing and dance. I can’t wait to see how God uses him in Honduras. Even though there will be no snow in Honduras; Ben can’t wait to go. He is going to be awesome there!

Elisa..what can I say? She has been asking to be baptized for a while now. She loves Jesus with all her heart. She has a sensitive spirit and compasssion for others. Just yesterday we were watching an incredibly sad movie called the Life of Pi and it sent her crying and sobbing to her room. She can’t stand to see people or animals treated unjustly. It isn’t hard to understand why in school she received and A in drama. She is very expressive! She is going to be amazing in Honduras; especially with the children. I know she is going to shower them with love.  Those kids will never be the same..neither will she!

It was an amazing Easter. I am content and at rest…yesterday was yet another step closer to Honduras!