I have hesitated to write so many times because of the challenges I was facing. I didn't know exactly what to say, so I chose to just continue in prayer. I feel like the Lord shows me something daily, for ME to work on. I kept thinking 'so and so' needed to fix themselves, I am just fine! HA. And you know what, so and so may need to work on themselves, but my job is for me to listen as the Lord corrects MY faults. I feel so challenged, in such a great way, right now. I think the difficult season was me getting to a place of being ready for more pruning. How thankful I am to have a Creator who cares enough about me to instruct me DAILY!! What another blessing! I love being ready for the challenge, feeling strong, wanting to pass the test and being ready for the fire. One day I was really having a hard time, just feeling down, tired, discouraged...wondering what exactly we are doing. I was walking and listening to such a wonderful message by someone from Bethel, I think Kris Valloton, and he said, 'there is no season of loss, Joseph flourished in prison and he flourished beside Potipher'. That was exactly what I needed to hear!! This season of difficulty has not been one of loss!!! Our home, our children, our marriage, our lives, are more vibrant now than they have ever been. Praise the Lord for every season!! There is a time for everything under the sun!! Sometimes while in the midst of a challenge we begin to question things... this is when we will find out where our hearts are! Who do we turn to when the going gets tough? Our help comes from the Lord!!
Love suffers long!! You can have suffering without love, but you can't have love without suffering!! I have heard my mother say, 'Sandy, pain is your friend', soooo many times. Some of the time I would think to myself, 'man, that sounds so hard'. She is exactly right though! That is when things begin to heal, when the pain gets so unbearable, the only choice you have is to call on Him. I think most of the time, when things get hard, people just push it down, push down the pain so as not to show the church any difficulties. Everyone looks at one another, smiles, say's 'God Bless You', and moves on. Let's get real!!
So, for the good stuff! Love DOES suffer long. Things may not always feel good, but our hearts know the right thing to do, the right way to respond, even if it is hard to respond in love. The children's Bible study for a few weeks really turned out to be for me. We cleaned house from all sinful speech. Murmuring, complaining, meddling, lying, sarcasm, name calling, and several others...oh, Lake calls it 'gospeling' (gossiping) :). I have found myself with such a negative tone, not even because the children were doing anything wrong, but because I had too much I was trying to do at one time. Then, we have to look at how that tone or gesture makes our children feel. Are they walking away feeling like they have done something wrong, when in all actuality, our tone was wrong, because of our own personal responsiblities.
Another word that blessed me and encouraged me, 'A wise person is ALWAYS prepared for the unexpected!!' Expections have been something that has caused a lot of my challenges. I have come into different situations expecting them to go one way, then they have turned a complete180. You know what? What I expect to happen in this life is really probably not going to happen, the way I want it to! God is in control and He will change my circumstances to fit His plan for my life. So, right now, I am trying really hard to have expectations for only God!! I do expect Him to move in my life, lead me, and direct me! And, HE IS!!
If things go as they are right now :), the building for the after-school proagram will be rented this week!! So...then it is on to getting the supplies, the door for the building, and a few other things. Please keep this in your prayers!!
And...HAPPY THANKSGIVING AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!! I know, we are early, but it is only in the 90s around here and feels like fall, so I am enjoying it. I will sign off and go bake some sweet potatoe pie and play scrabble with my chilins. (Told you I was starting early :) ).
Blessings from the other side of the world!!
Love you all!!