Friday, May 27, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Boxes, totes, and suitcases, OH MY!
I have decided to hide all my calendars because every time I look at one, I start to feel the pressure.  I really can't believe how fast these past few months have flown by!  It is very strange to feel excited, exhausted, relieved, and anxious all at the same time.  I remember when Kris and I were living in Spain back in 2003.  We were getting ready to come back to the states and were looking at places we could live.  I said to Kris, "Where are we going to call home?"  The beginning of our married life was very "nomadic" in style since I was in graduate school and then Kris' work sent us overseas.  At that time, I couldn't imagine finding a place that would really feel like home to us.  That was a little over 7 years ago, and I've begun to realize that Columbia, South Carolina has become that home to us.  This will always be our kids' hometown, and I am so thankful that their earliest memories will be of the people and places around here that we have grown to love.
This past week has been very emotional for me, and I'm sure tears will continue to flow over the next few weeks.  With the school year coming to an end, we've started to experience a lot of "lasts"- my last community Bible study, the last TimeOut for moms, the kids' last mission friends, etc.  We're having a huge yard sale tomorrow, the house is on the market and Kris has one more week of work.  Suddenly, the reality that we are leaving home has hit me.  Don't get me wrong.  We are all excited about this new adventure God has placed in our lives.  Every time we tell our story and the story of those who do not have the Word of God in their own language, we feel a new sense of urgency to follow God's calling.  I keep coming back to that expression "home is where the heart is".  A piece of our heart will always be in Columbia, SC, but I also know that God will give us a heart for our new home in Texas and then Mexico.
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.  By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.  For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.  Hebrews 11:8-10 (NIV)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Treasure Hunt for Memories - A Birthday Surprise

Happy Birthday, Da!
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." 
Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV)

I've spent the past several weeks starting to go through all our stuff as we prepare for our move to Texas.  Because our rental in Dallas is fully furnished, we won't need to take much with us.  That means we will need to get rid of almost everything we've manage to "store up"!  Sometimes I think that stuff multiplied in the attic!  I often read this verse from Matthew as I try to remind myself that these "things" are just things.  I want to start storing up heavenly treasures, and I want my kids to understand the importance of doing things that will have eternal effects.  I want them to understand the value of forming deep, lasting relationships and the importance of giving rather than receiving.  Instead of contantly hunting for earthly treasures, we need to invest our time in sharing God's love and gathering memories that are theif-resistant!

The kids and I had the chance to make one of those memories yesterday when we gave my dad a special birthday surprise.  After a conversation with my mom last week, I decided to bring the kids down to Florida to help celebrate my dad's birthday.  We decided to keep it a secret from my dad.  The next day I told Kieran about our plan and he asked me what we should get "Da".  I asked him what Da liked and he said, "Well, he likes to see me.  He likes to play with me, and he likes to fish."  From that answer, we came up with a plan to give Da a present he would never forget.  Kieran decided that he and Elyse would hide in a box and jump out (they practiced saying "surprise" and "boo" all the way to Florida). 

When we were almost to the house, I called my mom to make sure my dad would answer the door.  We got out of the car and put the box in front of the door.  The kids jumped in.  I rang the doorbell and ran to hide behind my parent's van with my camera.  It took a while for my dad to answer the door, and I really can't believe the kids stayed still and quiet that long!  As you can see from the video, my dad had no idea what was going on.  We was so surprised and excited.  The only thing that would have made it better is if the other 4 grandkids had been hiding inside, too! 

Birthday surprise memory complete and stored away!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

God's Power is True!

Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” 
“From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
“If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” ~Mark 9:21-2

In Mark 9 we read the story of a father whose son has been possessed by an evil spirit.  Like any parent, he was desperate to find relief for his son.  Also like many people at the end of their rope, he turns to Jesus for help.  My favorite part of this story is when the father says, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.”  At first he seems to be contradicting himself.  However, I realized that I live in this state of mind most days.  I believe in God and I believe in his provisions for me and my family.  On the other hand, I struggle daily with worry, stress, and lack of faith!  This constant struggle between my head and heart leads me to pray the same prayer, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.” 
A few weeks ago, Kieran gave me a good illustration of what it means to fully trust God.  He woke up in the middle of the night crying that his ear hurt.  I gave him some Motrin and put some drops in his ears.  He would not calm down so we prayed and asked God to heal his ear.  I took him back to his bed and lay down with him.  In a few minutes he was asleep.  I dozed off thinking about calling the doctor in the morning.   About an hour later, he suddenly woke up and said, “Mommy, my ear doesn’t hurt anymore!  The medicine worked…no…God made the medicine work!  God’s power is true!!”  After his exclamation, he put his head back on the pillow and went to sleep.  The next morning, he woke up and said nothing more about his ear. 
As our family enters this season of change, we will continue to trust and believe that God’s power is true.   We will also be prepared for those days when we will need to cry out, “help me overcome my unbelief!”