Thursday, December 27, 2018

A lesson from a tomato plant?

I was watching a YouTube video this morning regarding care of tomato plants. And something the woman said really caught my attention. She said that a tomato plant isn't trying to grow you a beautiful tomato, it's trying to spread it's seed. So it spreads itself way out in the attempt of spreading its seeds more and more.

By spreading itself out like that, it makes itself vulnerable to animals that would come and eat it's fruit, rather than the gardener. So to circumvent this,
we put up stakes and help the fruit/plant grow upward instead of outward. She stated that if the plant fails, it's not necessarily because she's a bad gardener (though obviously the gardener is often at fault) but it's because the challenge is that we're asking the fruit to do something contrary to it's nature.

She went on to say that she often waits until she sees the beginnings of stress (the curling of the leaves) on her plants, because that stress releases chemicals that actually enhance the flavor and vitamins in the fruit. If her plants never faced stress they wouldn't be as resistant to bugs and disease.

So she watches. Wanting to water, but careful to wait for a sign of stress.

I'm not going to write out the significance of that in a spiritual sense. It all seems so clear to me.

But she went on to say that over-watering, also causes the plants to lose their flavor.

I find that idea very interesting.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Did God really say?

It was a simple and sincere request from someone who loves my daughter - "Please reconsider". I'm planning on leaving my daughters with family for 10 weeks while I go to India, seemingly, because God has told me to. She is NOT the first, and won't be the last. And I especially respect that she was bold enough to say it rather than suggest things, make vague references, But...
"Please reconsider" can only be done if I'm doing this as part of my own desire, and not God's. But oh, reconsider I did, and do, often. "Did God really say?" may be what the devil tempted Eve with as he offered her the apple, but it's also something it seems I'm constantly hearing myself. Folks don't say it specifically - but it's implied when you suggest someone reconsider doing what God told you to do. "Did God really say?"
I went to Bible study Wednesday night and ended up in a great conversation with a missionary who, also, expressed her concerns for my children and we prayed together that God would make His way clear and "shut doors that I can't open, and open doors that I can't shut" so I follow where ever He wants.
And perhaps, I'm entirely wrong and India isn't what God is telling me to do.
But the next morning I woke up  feeling calmer about the separation (I generally have a curl-into-a-fetal-position-crying mindset just thinking about leaving my girls) and then I got to have breakfast with my 3 yr old.

Conversations with a 3 yr old are always interesting, and this one was no exception. But at the end I was halfway through my story when I realized the words I was saying:

"Michaela, you need to cover your mouth when you cough, otherwise your sickie germies can get on things and make Aunt Gigi, or Dubba, or Davie or Angel sick."
"But I can cough on my toys?"
"No, you shouldn't cough on your toys either, because then Aunt Gigi might pick it up and touch your germies and get sick. Mommy would have to wash it"
"In the washing machine?"
"No, the toys are hard they would break the machine. you can only wash soft things in the washing machine, not hard toys. Your pajamas are soft, so they could go in there, but not your cup, or bowl because they are hard."
"Could I put a piggy in the washing machine?"
"A piggy needs to breathe air, and in the washing machine a piggy would drown in the water"
(We go through various animals and their need for air)
"A fish would be the only animal that might not die in the washing machine because they can breathe water, they live in the water." I remind her of Marlin and Dori from "Finding Nemo" and how they live in the water.
She begins to tell me about how they might get eaten by a shark and how scary that would be.
So I tell her the story of Jonah and the whale. A man who got eaten by a huuuuuuge fish.
She's sitting at the table eating her Cheerio's while I"m running back and forth the kitchen showing how Jonah didn't want to go where God told him so he ran the other direction, then I'm vividly trying to describe the waves tossing the boat around and Jonah telling them to throw him overboard..
I'm telling her how right she is and describing his prayer in the belly of the fish when suddenly the words I'm saying hit me "Please Lord, get me out of this fish and I will go where you wanted me to go".
Talking with the missionary the night before I had mentioned how much safer I feel within the will of God. Regardless of what He might ask of me I feel confident of provision and His keeping, that things are going according to His best plan if I simply do as He asks. I said if I go other directions I don't have that confidence, and as a single mom feeling confident of His blessing and being in step with His will gives me a great feeling of security. She stressed to me that of course, God's love for me as a child doesn't change if I do something wrong, just as my love for my children doesn't change.
I didn't have a good answer for that last night, except that yes, God would still love me. But it's safer in His will than out of it.
It wasn't until I was telling a story of a man getting thrown overboard because God sent a storm to stop him from going the wrong direction that I realized what I wish I had remembered last night.
A prime example of how going the opposite direction God is pointing is a bad idea.
There's love regardless, but a certain amount of safety being in His will rather than out of it.

That said, I don't want to go to India.
I want to live a powerful life for Christ, own furniture, maybe get a puppy,and cook American pancakes on Saturday mornings for breakfast in my American little house, with my girls getting American education and learning about the wonders of Amusement parks and funnel cakes. But if I do that now, without having gone to India...I don't feel that same security of "everythings gonna be okay".
I don't know what the future holds. But I know that regardless of how much I like the timing, how necessary the money is that He may want me to give away, or how I don't have money to pay for some teen mothers hospital bills so that they don't abort their kid - If God is calling me to do it I need to do it and trust that the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills will be able to provide.

Meanwhile I also need to trust that He'll also comfort two little girls who I've been told will feel abandoned. That they'll forgive me for not considering them "enough of a ministry" and that He'll help them understand that they are not my "first priority". And that somehow, some day, these two kiddos that I'm gonna miss like all get out will want to be like my Jesus too. Despite me.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The coin worth $5000

Today was one of those extra special days at work. Boss man is giving out task after task he wants done and then regularly interrupting the task giving to ask if you've completed any of the 8 tasks he'd given you 5 minutes prior. During all that, I foolishly mentioned the storage room and how during his upcoming 6 week absence it would be a good project to go through the boxes, scan the necessary items and discard the non-essential items.

This didn't go well.

He then decided to test my abilities of determining what HE would classify as "unessential". Obviously my simplistic point of view isn't going to mesh with his pack rat point of view. But once the train wreck is started, it won't stop till it's completely done...So page after page he pulls out and explains why this form or that form that's over 18 months old could provide value. How does it provide value you might ask? It makes him think about something that he could be doing that relates to this form. So we must keep the form that is no longer even able to be used (since all of the forms have long since been updated) so that it can perform the extra special task of making him think of something.

As he complained about my not seeing value in things, he mentioned I had this trait in common with his wife. He grumbled some about how his wife has a change jar and periodically takes it in and coverts it to cash. This genuinely bothers him. Why?
Because when you just dump them all together like that, you miss the fact that there could be a coin in there worth $5000. But, alas, you'll never know now.

I was overwhelmed when I left. Too much to do, and so many interruptions that you can't even begin completing anything before more work is given. Overwhelming.

But the minute I classified what I was feeling as "overwhelmed", I thought of the song by Big Daddy Weave "Overwhelmed" (video included in case you haven't seen it). The point of the song is simply how when the writer thinks of God and the amazing attributes of God, he's overwhelmed.

It was helpful for me to remember that song because I couldn't help but imagine that as stressful as it is to be overwhelmed by work, it is even more so exactly the opposite to be overwhelmed by how amazing God is. I began praying "God, please remind me of all the things about you that I'm just too busy to think about." And I began thinking of all the expressive things that David wrote about the vastness of God's goodness, mercy, power and love.

Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! PS 31:19
But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble. PS 59:16
I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech.  Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, PS 17:6-8
See what I mean? My head feels better just reading those verses aloud. I want to be overwhelmed again. I remember, vividly singing a song called "When I think about the Lord"
It says simply this:
When I think about the Lord
How He saved me
How He raised me
How He filled me with the Holy Ghost
How He healed me to the uttermost
When I think about the Lord
How He picked me up and turned me around
And He placed my feet 
On solid ground.
It makes me wanna SHOUT!
Thank you Jesus!
Lord You're worthy
Of all the glory
And all the honor
And all the praise.
It makes me wanna SHOUT!

There's something mundane and seemingly pointless to digging through a great pile of coins and hoping to find a valuable one. But unlike a pile of coins with only the remote possibility of a valuable one being in the mix, when you meditate on the works of God you always find that prize, that treasure. Every thought, every memory is that $5000 coin. And when you meditate on God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit and consider the changes He's made in your life...that is when you become overwhelmed. That's when you go from simply feeling thankful for all Jesus has done to feeling overwhelmed and suddenly you want to shout, and dance as David did. You aren't just "thankful". You're overwhelmed and rich.

And that's a pretty great way to end a stressful day.

Hope you enjoy the song.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Giving your life away.

I've been considering something brought on, in part, by Veterans Day. It was a thought regarding our military men and women "giving their life away". They go where the government tells them to go, they train in whatever fashion the government chooses to tell them they must train, then they are required to do whatever the government tells them to do. If the government says sit here for 5 hours in the freezing cold and watch this building, sure 'nuff somebody's gonna catch a cold. No if, and's or but's. You do as your told. And you might die. There's no guarantees.

And I began thinking about how very much I want to give my life to God. Please Lord, send me, tell me, teach me, make me do whatever. I am fearful sometimes with having been to India recently, returning to India next month, and my further searches into Indonesia and living in other countries that I am following my own will more than God's. Not that I have a great desire to live in those countries, especially with small children(!)  but I am desperate to win a soul for Christ. To do something for Him. And the idea of living in suburbia, sending my kids to a good Christian school and working 8-5 is incredibly frightening to me. We're rewarded according to our works. I've always wanted to be an over-achiever and right now it feels like I'm in the bottom of the class. My prayer for the last few years has been pretty constant, "Make ME a blessing to YOU Lord".

I'm praying for leading. I'm praying for open doors and a heart that is bold to witness. I'm praying to be a good mother. I'm praying to be entrusted with more children that NEED a home. I'm praying that God will help me raise up my girls as servants. I pray God will burn away more of myself so that a true servants heart remains. God help us. God help those who haven't heard the gospel and surrendered. God help those who claim to know the Gospel yet deny the Jesus clearly shown in the Bible and build their own false Christ who accepts and tolerates sin. God help those who simply walk away because they see a lukewarm church of mediocrity. God help us. And send a fire of revival in our hearts. And let it begin in me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My advice on how to live the dream

I pass it every single day. A beautiful brick home for rent in the loveliest city/town I've ever had the joy of living in. It's 2 bedrooms plus a large playroom (or guest room) area, a basement, a large yard that already has a toy in it. To top it all off the garage out back has a line of vibrantly colored flowers growing alongside it. It's in my very low price range, less than 2 miles from my brothers home, and it's ... well, it's perfect.

100% perfect.

I'm in Pennsylvania right now. Amish country. The land where you constantly swerve around slow moving horse and buggies while you drive down the road. The Amish are everywhere. And I've begun to notice something about the horses.

They all have blinders on.

Blinders keep the horse from seeing to the sides, from being distracted or startled by traffic, especially on busy roads.

And every day as I pass this beautiful brick house I tell God that He really needs to give me blinders on my heart. Because as perfect as this 100% perfect house is, it's also 110% wrong for me. It's not where I'm supposed to be. God is leading me back to India and then back to South Texas, away from my family here and yet still too far away from my family in the North part of Texas. It's ridiculous, and something no single mom ought to do. But that's what God is directing me to do.

And I drive by that beautiful house...

My heart imagines staying here. Being close to family. Not giving up yet another job. Not moving again. Not going back to India again. Just.. you know.. doing something outrageous like being a normal human being for a change.

But with a thankful heart I know I wouldn't trade following God in the peculiar ways He'd have me go. I certainly wouldn't trade it for being normal.

God is good. I don't know how the things He's calling me toward will work out, but I'm willing to throw out every ounce of stability that I have based on the fact that God's still faithful. He hasn't failed me in the past. He won't fail now.

Following God... that's the dream. I don't know where it will lead, but I know that any dream I have would pale in comparison to the ones God may have in store for me. So my dream is a blank canvas of "I dream of following God. And being led into His perfect will for mine and my children's lives."

So to the girl who stares at that little brick house every day I say this:

Jeanette, you see through a glass dimly. Comfort your heart with the knowledge that God sees clearly the desires of your heart and can fulfill them more vibrantly, more outrageously, more beyond-your-dreams  than you would. So be patient. He's already given you 2 little girls you didn't expect. And more memories and travel miles than a small town country girl from Whitesboro, Tx has any right to hope for. Be patient. Really. Be patient - because you know it's gonna be amazing.

Sunday, April 06, 2014


Reading this morning from Philippians 1 and I hit this verse (27) and I just had to keep reading it over and over.
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

The words that stuck out to me were "your conversation" and "I may hear of your affairs".

It's fascinating watching the trends on Facebook. But watching my own trends, I see easily that the affairs I choose to tell the world are only my good ones. But if someone else had the responsibility of reporting on me, I wonder what their report would look like.

I don't want to come across as a Christian that has it all together, one that is holy and perfect and obviously doesn't struggle with the same things you struggle with. Yet, rarely will you see the post that shows "Hey, I'm messing it all up today, and I'm choosing to do it because for the moment it seems more fun than bowing my will to God's."

Let me tell you, there's many a minute, hour, day, and upon occasion weeks that go by where it just seems like I just try and shut my eyes to God and hope that I'll pick Him back up again after I'm done doing what I really want to do. Only to find myself at the end looking around at no peace, no joy, fussy kids, anger building up inside me, and frustrated with myself that I've done it again.

The Christian life isn't usually perfect.

But here's the kicker - it could be.

There isn't a single sin or temptation that's going to come your way that you don't have the power of God to overcome, to run away from, to stop in it's tracks. It's almost a given that you will let sin in, but never confuse the fact that you do with the promise that you didn't have to.

Before you were saved? Yes.  You had to.
After you are bought with a price, purchased by the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ? Nope. You have power to overcome.
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Romans 6:6,7
WE ARE FREE! These days of frustration and no peace are of our own making - In CHRIST we are free from sin. We are dead, crucified with Christ, that we, from here on, should not serve sin.
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. Romans 6:13

Does a trumpet sound like a piano? NO! Neither should an instrument of righteousness be sounding out unrighteousness! BE what you are! And glory to God, that is free from sin!

 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:17 - end

Oh my goodness!
I praise God that my visa was held back. I praise the God of all wisdom and knowledge and power, that is continuing a work in and through me, that He knew I needed one more blow to pull down some walls of pride.
As this day has progressed I've only become more and more free and happy and joyful. 
You see, before my visa was held back, I've been fighting, hard, trying to get everything done and honestly I had begun getting frustrated with God. It seemed like I couldn't catch a break. Everything just had to be so hard!
But last night I came to a point where I just ground to a halt. I stopped.  And I said "God, there is sin in my camp. Just like the Israelites saw defeat when there was sin in their camp, I think that's what is happening in my camp." and I went on and repented, and very humbly asked God to straighten me back out. And friends, the difference today has seen has been wonderful. 
Where I'd slowly strayed from reading my Bible as I should, in the last day and a half there's been a hunger and desire that had been missing. Oh friends... oh Friends. 
KNOW my Savior. His name is Jesus Christ. He has freed me from sin, brought me back into a good relationship with Him. He IS it.. IT.. whatever your IT is. He's what you need. He'll change you.
And face it, you know you want to change. You know things have happened in your life you didn't like. You know you've walked paths you shouldn't have. You know, deep in your heart, that even in your happiest days, the happiness just wasn't quiiiite complete.
He's it. He will free you from sin, and bring you into HIS family, as His son, His daughter. He bore your sin on Calvary, It's finished. Repent and be saved. SAVED. Let my Jesus show you just how lost you are on your own path. He is mighty, willing, ready, and more than able to save.

Are you a Christian? Will you share your testimony here of how God saved you?
Are you not a Christian? Or do you believe you are a Christian but don't seem to know the joy or peace that I'm expressing here? Would you like to know more about this wonderful God I serve? Will you contact me? Please?

Saturday, April 05, 2014

I remember when my van rolled away.

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering, for he that wavers is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. James 1:6

Based off the old hymn "I remember when my burdens rolled away"
I remember when my van rolled away.
I had driven it a year, night and day.
Then I sought the blessed Lord,
And I took Him at His word
And now my old van has rolled away.

I had to remind myself of that verse today. I was cleaning my car, vacuuming it, pulling out all the random food bits the kids had knocked under seats, the stray pen, that toothpick that rolled under the drivers gas pedal, all that fun stuff. I was cleaning it because later this afternoon someone was coming to take it. They were taking my vehicle.

As of now, I no longer own a car.

I don't know about you, but that idea is pretty big to me. I got a great deal on this car. It was a great car. It was a minivan. And now I'm selling it all in the name of going to India. You didn't see it, but even in that last sentence I had to stop my fingers from writing "in the hope of going to India".

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering, for he that wavers is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed.

As I cleaned it, I felt the ping, that nudge saying "you don't have a visa yet, what if they ..."

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering, for he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

Sometimes you honestly just have to stop thoughts, dead in their tracks.

Which is what I had to do this afternoon.

Even as I type this, there are a ton of doubts and worries that want to come up. But the easiest way to silence them is to consider what I actually know.

I know, beyond a doubt, that God made clear that India was next.
I know, beyond a doubt, that God gave us our specific destination in India (Atmakur).
I know, beyond a doubt, that God gave us our contact in India (John Pradeep)
I've given up everything to follow that calling. I can trust that God can see through His part. God isn't stymied by Indian Visa Consulates.

Some days this journey feels so unbelievable that it can't be real. It's really hard sometimes. But God has helped. He's made it possible for us to still be on the schedule we believe He put us on. We believe our departure date is His departure date.

The bulk of my stuff is sold, I have no job, I have no car, What I do have are two beautiful daughters, passports and God's directions. My God is able to do the rest.

And that said... I'm a bit more excited now that my van just drove away.
Nothing wavering.
25 days to India.