Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sabbath rest courtesy of the electric company

This past Sunday, we had true Sabbath rest in the morning. Not that we do not usually honor the Sabbath but this one was different and it felt great. I wish I could say it was on my own accord, but no, the rest came courtesy of electric company in La Ceiba. The city was without electricity and therefore, in our case also without water, for the entire day. We had heard rumors that the electricity would be shut off at 8 am and come back on at 5 pm, and surprisingly, at 7:58 the lights went out and before we got home in the afternoon the lights were back on. Timeliness is usually not a Honduran virtue.

Not having water or electricity made for a nice quiet Sunday morning. I could not check email, we were not able to listen to a web cast sermon, without internet nobody could use the phone, no water meant no laundry, or daily cleaning, not even the breakfast dishes.
After family devotions, each one of us curled up in a corner of the house reading, praying or playing. With all the normal distractions gone, there were so much more time for God, time to reflect on His word, time to pray and time to listen to Him. Our slow, leisurely morning was such a blessing and we all felt rejuvenated and ready to go when we headed over to the Ninos de la Luz cook out.

God rested on the seventh day and he calls us to do the same. This past Sunday was a very gentle, kind reminder by God for me, of why He calls us to rest, and to keep the Sabbath holy. It restores the soul, rejuvenates the mind and re energizes the body for the work of the upcoming week. I pray that I will retain this lesson and think more carefully about what I and we as a family do on Sundays. The benefits of obedience are too great to disregard.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Rainbow

The Bible study that I participate in here in La Ceiba is doing a Beth Moore study - and this was our first week of homework. As anyone who has ever done a Beth Moore study knows, there is a lot of homework to do, but it is well worth it.
One day this week, the home work was about Noah and God's covenant with Noah: "I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth." Gen 9:13
In the afternoon, I set out to do some errands around town, feeling a bit rushed, and 'behind schedule' and frustrated that I still had so much to do... I walked briskly down the street, mumbling my frustrations and venting my complaints, and then I suddenly looked up and what did I see? A beautiful, almost complete and perfect rainbow in the sky. My frustrations melted away, like butter in the sun, and I no longer felt the need to complain about anything. God is so good and He is doing some big stuff in me; no I am not 100% content all the time, I have not surrender all control to God, and I am less than compassionate more often then I care to admit. Yet, I am more content, have surrender more of my life to God and am compassionate towards others in situations where in the past I would not have - so I am a big work in progress. It is a good thing I am in Honduras, where things do not move fast, and where nobody expects immediate results...
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Monday, February 16, 2009

I count His Blessings

The splendor of the King,
clothes in majesty,
and all the earth rejoice,
all the earth rejoice,
He wraps himself in light,
and darkness tries to hide,
and trembles at his voice,
and trembles at his voice.

How great is our God,
sing with me how great is God
and all will see how great, how great is our God.
Chris Tomlin

I sat down to write about God's many and amazing blessings, especially the ones we have seen visibly, daily here in Honduras. The music was playing in the background and I was struck by the words from Chris Tomlin's song – How Great is Our God. It was such an appropriate praise for the way God is showering my family in blessings right now.

We pray and we receive
We pray and things are resolved
We pray and it happens
We pray and our needs are met

Daily we see God's abundant blessings, in ways we could have never imagined or envisioned – He surprises us constantly. At times, we can barely utter the prayer before it is answered. Seeing so visibly and clearly how God bless us has been such a great lesson for us in God's faithfulness.

I can’t help but praise Him – "How great is our God, sing with me how great is our God, and all will see how great, how great is our God."

Source of energy?

I stumbled up, half awake, into the kitchen, being thankful for the already set up coffee maker, all I had to do was turn it on and in a few minutes I would be able to enjoy a steaming hot cup of delicious Honduran coffee, curl up on the couch for some quiet time, enjoying the beautiful scenery outside my large window and savoring a few moments of silence and calm before the day begin.

While waiting for the espresso maker to do its magic, I sat on the couch, and opened my Bible. My experience over many years of trial and error is that my time alone with God in the morning is absolutely and unequivocally vital for the success of the day. I need to start with Him and Him alone and somehow all the rest fall into place. I read a passage, thought about it, meditated on the words and how they would apply to my day and periodically shot a glance over towards the stove, thinking – 'isn't the coffee ready soon…' I clearly had my priorities 'straight' coffee first, thank you very much. When my impatience finally took over (which probably was pretty quick, patience is not one of my virtues) and I got up to check on the coffee, I realized that I had in my morning fog turned on the wrong burner! There was no wonder the coffee was not ready! I quickly moved the coffee pot to the red hot burner; it took only a few minutes for the coffee to be ready. Coffee mug in hand I went back to my spot by the window and began to reflect on sources of energy.

From where do I draw my strength? What makes me alive? What gets me up and going in the morning? I must admit that there are many things that makes me get up and go, and my energy often comes from the things and people I enjoy being around. So if things are not enjoyable, or people around me disappoint me because they are human beings just like me, I am lukewarm or even cold, much like my coffee maker on the wrong burner.

I need to make sure that I am plugged in all day long to the source that gives me strength. God is always there, ready to help, encourage, support and shore up, yet if I am plugged in to another source I am not drawing on His great and amazing powers. I need to be on the right burner to get the energy I need.

Likewise, when I turned off the stove, there is residual heat for a bit, but sooner or later the burner is cold again. Spending time with God in the morning gets me going, but to keep me going I need to not turn Him off. He needs to be my source and strength all day long, not things or people.

Amazing what God can teach me with a coffee pot early in the morning... May your burner remain red hot all day long and the pot be on the one.

Monday, February 9, 2009

But Maaaaaam......

I am beginning to think that God created children as an incredible funny joke on parents. My worst sides are shining brightly into my face like a gigantic magnifying glass when look into the eyes of our precious boys. When I stop to reflect on where those ugly things came from, it does not take long for me to realize the unpleasant truth – they all come from me…

But, Maaaam, so and so has one, why can't I have one?
But, Maaam, so and so does not have to do that, why do I?
But, Maaam, so and so can do that, why can't I?

A deep breath before I answer is the only sure remedy for not losing my patience with the incessant comparisons to others. I try to hard to explain that it is no use comparing oneself to others; that each person is unique, each family has its own special way, and that comparison only leads to dissatisfaction and malcontent. But, wait, who is calling the kettle black, I am trying to get Lukas and Noah to understand the danger of comparison, the results of measuring against others, of always looking for more. Yet, I myself so easily fall into this trap – my comparisons just seem 'more valid' but in reality they are no more justified than the ones that Lukas and Noah so eloquently present to me. God is using all available methods to teach me to be content in the moment and in my current circumstance. In some ways, the boys are the most effective teacher as my desire is to not perpetuate malcontent into the next generation, and they learn so well by example. Another baby step….

Laundry: a lesson in contentment

Yes, this is true, as much as I see myself a participant in the laundry war, it is teaching me contentment. The sink is still low to the ground, the tub can only handle about seven pieces at a time – unless it is jeans which mean only one at a time. The rain is still falling most every day, and the shape of our clothes - well who cares? They still work and fill their functions.
As I stand out there sorting, filling the tub, soaking, scrubbing, rinsing, wringing, and handing – I realize that I am blessed. I have people to do laundry for – I have a beautiful family. We are all healthy and able bodied enough to go out and get dirty on pretty much a daily basis.
We have enough clothes that I can wash some of them and we will not be without something to wear if the current load does not dry for a few days.
No socks are lost to the washing machine monster, if I put two socks in the tub, there are two socks to scrub, rinse, wring out and hang on the line.
Yet as much as laundry is teaching me about contentment, I am learning that it is more of a feeling rather than a conscious thought. Contentment allows me to focus on other things, my mind is not occupied with wants, desires, urges to acquire, needs to consume and accumulate, jealousy of others material and personal blessings – I am free to more fully walk in the light of Jesus and do the work that God has purposed for me. However, when I begin to think about how content I am, the step to a sense of righteousness is not far away and bang, I am back wallowing in malcontent.
I am taking baby steps on the life long journey towards complete contentment – a destination I will not reach until the day I stand in the presence of Jesus Christ.

Change is good

I am changing....

I 'get' air fresheners
I 'get' the wisdom in washing out and reusing Ziploc bags – please forgive my snickering Mor and Barb
I 'get' scented laundry soap – citrus is my favorite- it masks the sour humidity smell in towels
I 'get' the timing of nationals, today really means tomorrow but it is sort of a gift of time, as I still feel I need to be here just in case they truly do show up when they said they would.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Very wet laundry

At the moment, the rain is winning the laundry battle. Although I am down, I am not out - God is still good and this has been a week of so many answered prayers, what can a little wet laundry do to dampen my spirit (no pun intended).