Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What's in a voice...

Wow...what a crazy time these last 3 weeks have been. I can honestly say, that being on the home front side of a mission trip has been one of the hardest things I have EVER done!!!

Joel and I have a really great marriage, not perfect by any means but certainly a great marriage in my opinion. We have had are ups and we have more than our share of downs but through it all instead of allowing circumstances to pull us apart - we have allowed everything to draw us closer to one another. From the bottom of my heart I can say that we are one flesh...

This time with him in Africa and me here in Texas has shown me a lot about my self, my walk with the Lord, my relationship with Joel, and my relationship with my children. I have seen a lot that I am proud of in my life and well, I have seen a whole lot that I am not so proud of - yet through it all I have discovered the ONE thing that I miss the most....

The sound of my hubby's voice....I haven't actually verbally talked to Joel since Sept 11 - the day he left. In fact, I will not verbally talk with him until Sept 28 - the day he comes home. That's a LONG time to go without talking to the one person that you share EVERYTHING with! Ha ha! More than just missing his voice though - I have reflected on the fact that God certainly created us to be RELATIONAL! Not just a quick text message here and there (which has been our only means of communication for the past 15 days) but to have face to face verbal interacting relationships. I do not believe that you can truly connect through just an e-mail or a need to TALK.

Today I was thinking to myself of all the things I needed to share with Joel - things about the kids, things about the house and bills, things about family, things about church and very much!!! However, just as quickly - something else came to mind...

Just as much as I miss Joel and my daily interaction and relationship with him - my Heavenly Father also misses me. He longs for me to sit and just talk to Him about my day, my life, my highs, my lows. He wants to hear my voice and He longs for me to stop long enough to hear His...
Yet, unlike Joel where I have honestly had no way to communicate with him verbally - my Father is there EVERY day, He patiently sits and waits wondering if today I will have enough time to talk with Him and to hear from Him...He wants a strong relationship with Him...where have I been?

What's in a voice? A relationship....I believe that if we would stop and take time to talk and listen to the Lord our relationship would be so strong that it would be AMAZING. In the same way - I believe that we need to take time and truly interact with those we love and care about - ESPECIALLY our spouses. Marriages are falling apart literally all around us - both outside and inside the church. From what I can see...a common theme is that many times they have stopped communicating and interacting with one another. They haven't taken time to enjoy the sound of each others voice.

With that in mind - I plan on working on my communication both with my Father and with my hubby!!! Joel better be ready for a LONG coke date (I don't do coffee but Dr. Pepper is awesome and affordable) :-)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The hand of God!

God is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! There is simply no other way in which to describe all He has shown me and done in our lives this past week....

Let me rewind to Monday. Joel had been out of town a week. It had been going smooth and we were settling in although missing Dad a whole lot. Monday night, Hannah and I sat down to watch a LONG awaited new episode of one of our favorite shows: Bones.

Half way through the show, the phone rang. Looking at my caller ID I was a little surprised to see a name pop up - Kathy Brush. Kathy is a WONDERFUL lady and a fellow minister's wife in Colorado. I truly love her and her husband Jerry so much! However, since moving to Texas a year ago I had sort of lost touch with her and hadn't spoken with her at all. So, my first assumption was "pocket dial" ha ha! Silly Ronnie - God doesn't do that!

Kathy was calling on behalf of another very good friend of mine Carolyn. Carolyn's mom had just passed away - and two of Carolyn's four daughters are attending Wayland Baptist University in Plainview Tx. (about two hours from Borger). In talking with Kathy about how to notify the girls, Carolyn mentioned my name...thus the reason for the call. Kathy was calling to see if I would be willing to go and tell the girls.

Now, all 4 of the girls are just like my own. They are VERY dear to my heart - so of course I said yes. There was no question - it was the way it needed to be. So at 7:30 Monday night I made the two hour drive to Plainview and was with Katy and Ariel as we told them about their Grandmother's passing...such a hard time but precious time.

On Tuesday, as I was following up with Kathy Brush about how it went for the girls, I told her God is awesome! You see, Katy and Ariel were two of the youth in our youth group in Colorado. We were so sad to leave the youth there - and at the time had NO idea that they would be coming to Wayland - God knew! God knew that we would be two hours away at a time when they would need someone from "home" who understood how hard this loss would be. God knew that Kathy would have my number in her phone. God knew that I would have a free evening to go and see the girls. In His perfect timing God moved us to where we needed to be!

Wednesday - typically a "hump" day and this week was no exception. I was tired, worn out and down. Yet, I still had to run Club XP, our children's program, as well as get kids to bed, etc. Club XP happened to be a high number of kiddos but went SO SMOOTH!!! Only through the work of the Lord.

Thursday (today) - I went to the church to teach my precious class of two year olds for Kids Day Out. We have 12 little ones in our class - although today there were only 9. Anyway, one little boy who I will refer to as K - has just had a really rough time. The previous two Thursdays he had LITERALLY cried or pouted the whole day with the exception of nap time and lunch...just wasn't liking it much! Today, as mom dropped him off he started crying right away and for the first two hours - it was the usual pouting and occasional crying. THEN, I was able to start engaging him with a ball...not quite a smile but participation (something we hadn't seen yet)...I continued...he cracked a smile...then a grin...then a bigger smile...finally a LAUGH!!!! By the time mom got him at noon - he shouted "Mom, I am HAPPY!" Totally the hand of the Lord showing me some joy in the midst of missing my fact, I was REALLY struggling but he made my day!

After work, I went to get the kids at school. Tyler came right out and got in the car. He stated that he didn't feel good and could we please just hurry home? We got Kestra and we were off. I had no more walked in the door than I get a call from Tyler's special ed teacher. Tyler had forgotten to leave his FM system (what he uses to hear teachers) at the school to charge. Sighing, I said I would be right back. When I pulled up I saw Tyler's Social Studies teacher outside - she is also the daughter of my adult Sunday School class teachers. I waved and walked in with the system. As I came out, she stopped to talk to me....this part still brings tears to my eyes.

She proceeded to ask me if Tyler had told me what they did yesterday. I said, well he said something about looking at Africa on the map. She smiled and said, yes he asked if we could Google Earth Africa since his Dad was there - so they did. After that, she asked Tyler if he would like to share with the class what his Dad was doing in Africa. Tyler then got up in front of the class and told them that his Dad was in Africa telling the boys and girls about Jesus.. Tyler continued to share how Jesus died on the cross because he loves us and that is what his Dad was telling people in Africa. Tyler shared the Gospel with his whole fifth grade Social Studies class - all because his Dad was in Africa! Like Tyler's teacher stated - she isn't allowed to say anything but if it is student initiated and led, she doesn't have to stop them either!!!

Again - God's PERFECT timing of weaving events together. If Tyler hadn't brought home the FM system I wouldn't have gone back to the school and I wouldn't have spoken to his teacher. Not only that - just an hour or so prior I was really struggling with missing Joel and I was crying to God saying "Why? Why do they have to be there this long?"...Tyler's story was my WHY! So that my son - with the innocence and faith of a child could share Jesus with his class.

Later when talking with Tyler about it he stated very matter of factly,  "Mom, some of those kids didn't think Jesus existed, but I told them and now they know He does." From the mouth of babes...we are simply to TELL people so they know!

I am just in awe of how perfectly God orchestrates events for HIS purpose and HIS plan! I do miss my hubby - however, I am so thankful for this opportunity for a classroom of fifth graders to hear about Jesus!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The other side....

It is surreal in many ways to think that it has been two years since I took a giant leap of faith (for me anyway) and went on my first foreign mission trip to Africa.

A part of me says that seems like a lifetime ago; and yet another part says wasn't that just yesterday? In light of Joel's trip there, I have recently pulled out my journal and glanced through it. I thought it would be neat to read one day in my journal for every day that he is gone - in a weird way kind of "journey" with him! Anyway, I plan to do that starting tonight - he left this morning!

I always thought that the person going on the trip would experience the most and also face the most challenges...yet, here I am only about 12 hours into his trip and I am finding that perhaps the hardest part is staying on the home front...

Is this what it is like to be the spouse of one deployed in the armed services? I think it very may well be incredibly similar and just as a military soldier heads out to does one on a mission trip.

This afternoon, after a very taxing time with my son I longed to call Joel and talk with him about it; however, at the same time I didn't. I didn't want to distract him from the mission, I wanted him to be able to focus on the task ahead...I bet military spouses can relate! As it turned out, Joel did call and he did ask about our son so I did talk with him about it - however, by the time he called a trusted friend had already shed some much needed light on the subject and I was able to tell him my plan...whew!

I am not naive enough to say "I got this, it's a breeze!". I am aware the enemy will attack both on the field and here at home...he will do what he can to cause distraction, discouragement, irritability, impatience, etc. Yet, I am determined to do what I often talk with my teen kids about - have the battle plan ready BEFORE the attack comes. I want to be prayed up and read up in the Word! I want to recognize the enemy for who he is and know that MY GOD IS STRONGER! So, the plan for the next 17...make that 16 days to stay grounded in the Word, one with the King and of course be willing to call for reinforcements when needed!

It has dawned on me that when I went two years ago - we lived within an hour of both sets of grandparents and so they were able to help out some. This time, we do live an hour from one aunt but for the most part I will be relying on my church family here in Borger should anything major come up...isn't that AWESOME though that as the family of God we got one another's back?

With that...I am off to the races of getting four kids settled for the evening!!! Thank you in advance for all the encouragement and prayers...they are felt and appreciated!

Sidenote: Times like these are a GREAT reminder for me of why God created the family unit the way he did...we were never intended to raise children or walk life alone. I know MANY single parents and I know most of them have not chosen their path...I respect them so much but more than that I pray that they have a family, whether biological or spiritual, to walk along this road of life. May I be that for the single parents I know!!!