Friday, May 28, 2010

Content - To be or NOT to be.....

....well, when I started this blog, I intended it to be a regular reminder to me to be content. A place to journal my thoughts, prayers and journey while counting all the blessings in my life. It has been that, sure, but it has been so much more. And I'm learning that my desire for more or different than my current situation isn't lack of contentment, when it is from the Lord.
I feel without a doubt God has been opening my eyes and my heart to very specific things that leave me feeling ANYTHING but content. Things that I want to see changed, eradicated and replaced with justice, family and unconditional love. I am certain that the things that break my heart are at the same time breaking the heart of God. I don't doubt His desire to see these things changed, eradicated and justified. What I'm not yet clear about is my and my family's specific role. How we fit into the picture of change and justice. How we can make a real difference, an eternal impact. So, I try to work diligently with what is at hand for this moment, doing the best I can with what I have and where I'm at....but in all truth, it does become discouraging at times, heavy and frustrating. I am not content with it. Perhaps this is by design. Perhaps this is what spurs us towards His plan. Perhaps we are making a difference even now, in ways we are unaware of.

I have an amazing family! Truly amazing! And when I look at all that I am blessed with, there is a contentment that rises within me. But that contentment seems to be challenging me to look even further outside myself.....and my comfort. And so, contentment, like many things in my, Christianity and God being redefined. The process can be painful at times, but my prayer is that the outcome brings Him glory. And oh how thankful I am that He is full of patience and mercy and genuine love for me! That He sees my heart and knows my motives and speaks softly and in a way that I am able to recognize immediately that He is near. I may not be content, but I am certainly grateful!

Monday, May 17, 2010


It's not something I do very well. I have spurts yes, but tend to have major patience issues. I feel like our family has been in a state of waiting for some time now. And while I knew it was with purpose, I think only now am I beginning to truly understand. When you are in waiting mode, you can easily feel like you're wasting time or even worse, that you are useless. My devotion today, in Streams in the Desert, reminds me that neither are true! Waiting can even be a gift from God! Wow!!! There are so many moments I wish I had seen it this way before, surely it would have helped offer a more joyful perspective and attitude! Here's a few quotes that especially caught my attention.
"Often the Lord calls us aside from our work for a season and asks us to be still and learn before we go out again to minister. And the hours spent waiting are not lost time."
"Quite often God will ask us to wait before we go, so we may fully recover from our last mission before entering the next stage of our journey and work."

Thank you God for your infinite wisdom that knows the perfect time! Even when I impatiently rush you or repeatedly ask "Now Lord?", you have been understanding. You have offered me hope in the most desperate moments and poured your love over me like never before. I praise you!

Waiting! Yes, patiently waiting!
Till next steps made plain will be;
To hear, with the inner hearing,
The Voice that will call for me.

Waiting! Yes, hopefully waiting!
With hope that need not grow dim;
The Master is pledged to guide me,
And my eyes are unto Him.

Waiting! Expectantly waiting!
Perhaps it may be today
The Master will quickly open
The gate to my future way.

Waiting! Yes waiting! still waiting!
I know, though I've waited long,
That, while He withholds His purpose,
His waiting cannot be wrong.

Waiting! Yes, waiting! still waiting!
The Master will not be late:
Since He knows that I am waiting
For Him to unlatch the gate.

J. Danson Smith


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Harrison - A gift and inspiration!

We have a friend, Jack, who is in China volunteering at The Starfish Foster Home and the below details his recent experience with a precious child there named Harrison. (oh, I think I should note, Jack is 17 years old....there is no way you would know that by reading this!)

As some of you know, I have recently fallen in love with an orphan named Harrison here in Xi'an. He is 10 months old, very cute and has 2 of the 10 worst heart defects a person can have. We have spent the last 2 weeks together and built a report. He smiles at me, he feels comfortable in my arms, I am able to console him when other cannot.

Now, let me tell you about today:

It was 0930 before I got upstairs. I slept a little late, and had a few things to do around the apartment. I went upstairs to see the kids - and Harrison. Last night he had been his same old self, laughing and engaging everyone. When I walked in, everyone was playing and being their normal rambunctious selves. Harrison was sitting in the back of the room, a nannie rocking him. He was crying. There was a bottle near by, and he did not need his diaper changed, but something was obviously wrong. Upon inquiry, I came to learn that Harrison was sick. We took his temperature: 104 F. My roommate Ellisa, also a nurse, gave him some medicine to reduce the fever. I held him, I fed him, I kept a cool rag on him. He cried when we sat down so we walked around the room together. I held him and sang to him, praying the fever would break. We took his temperature again... still 104 F. We consulted Amanda and kept a close eye on him. We walked around the apartment again and again, waiting for the fever to break. Again, we took his temperature and saw that it remained undeterred by the medication. Harrison started wheezing and gasping. Lao Chin (nannie), Felix (volunteer), Harrison, and myself loaded up and headed to the hospital. I held Harrison in my arms in the taxi as we sped and wove in and out of traffic. We finally arrived at the hospital, Harrison looking as bad as ever. Our entourage went inside, got checked in, and saw a doctor in minutes. I laid Harrison down on the bed, and the doctor began to work. The doctor hooked him up to oxygen almost immediately. Things seemed normal for the first few minutes; but soon, it became evident that things were not OK. He was becoming less and less responsive. Doctors and nurses flooded the room, they shoved us out and rolled in machines. I prayed. The helpless feeling of your friend dying in the next room is not one you want to experience. We waited, I prayed. We waited more, I prayed more. A doctor came out, and babbled in Chinese to Lao Shin and Felix. Felix, who speaks some English, relaid some simple sentences. All I got out of it was: Lungs failing. Heart very very bad. The doctor went back in. Soon, another doctor came out. Felix said something. The doctors reply was short and stern. Felix began to cry. She said,"He said, 'No hope." I got on my knees in front of room 807 in the hospital in Xi'an China. I prayed. I knew that nothing was to big for my God. I prayed for a miracle. I prayed for divine intervention, I told God He would get the glory. But, today, May 14, at 4:56 China time, my friend Harrison took his last breath.

Now, lets do a little exegesis. Right now in the wake of tragedy, I see this going either one of two ways. Either, God was apart of the situation, or he was not.

1. Gods' in the room

The first possibility is that God was in room 807 today. He heard my prayers. He told me no. He knew that even if Harrison was flown to America to get his multi-million dollar surgery, that his prognosis would not be good. (Which is very likely by the way.) He could very easily have died in surgery, and even after his quality of life would not necessarily be the best or what we would consider normal. Perhaps the rest of Harrison's life would be like it has been, full of suffering and pain. Perhaps God did Harrison a favor, was looking out for Him, and helped him better than I ever could have.

2. The Forrest Gump Bumper Sticker

The other possibility is that, God was not apart of this situation. Perhaps Harrison just got sick and died. It happens all the time. Some people have congenial heart defects, and they are more susceptible to such things. They just don't have the right hardware to handle the job they need to preform. Sometimes, crap happens. God heard my prayers, but it's not His duty to bend to our every whim.

The truth is, I don't know. I feel that it could be either. It could also be something totally different I do not see or can not see. I do not believe that everything happens for a reason, but I do not believe that God has left us out here to completely fend for ourselves. I believe that it is a balance that we will not and can not ever completely figure out. But here is what I do know, and it is not contingent on premise one or two being true or false.

God took care of Harrison today. Harrison had a tough short run, but he is fairing better than any of us now. I feel pride and honor to have known him; especially to have been with him in his final days, but even more so to have loved him and been his friend. I am proud to have stood beside him when others would not, to have loved him when others abandoned him. I loved Harrison, but life goes on. Life goes on for so many others like him. Children whose lives are filled with pain and suffering. These others have no one to stand beside them, no one to advocate them. No one comes when others leave them. We need to remember Harrison, today, tomorrow, and always. He represents the "plight of millions" and we, as people who live in this world need to be doing something about it on a global scale. Sadly, we are not.

Take a look at at my videos, I took one of Harrison just a few days ago.

I love and miss you all dearly. This world is making me grow up fast over here.

Thanks for reading,


There is absolutely a way that each of us can help children like Harrison! Visit The Starfish Foster Home page to learn more.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Avoiding Distractions

Oh how they will undoubtedly come! And even more boldly once you have decided to follow God's will for your life! I find myself smack in the middle of such "distraction" right now.

Andy and I have been praying for God to reveal His plan for our lives for some time now. We have been exploring all kinds of possibilities, but have yet to see clearly the specific way in which He wants us to move. While attempting to be patient, we also haven't wanted to waste anytime with our wheels spinning. We decided this past Saturday to pray together for some very specific clarity in certain areas. That we wouldn't continue to discuss them, but just pray, and come back together in one week to then discuss how we felt God was leading. Well, who knew the roller coaster that would bring with it! This has been a crazy busy week, with lots of ups and downs, questions and frustrations, all of which came to a head last night as we sat on the cold damp floor of our basement surrounded my every, single towel in our house, soaking wet from the water that had emptied from our washer onto the floor rather than the drain it is suppose to.....laughing! Well, I wish I could say that is how it started, but admittedly it was not. But, at least after the frantic mop up and a few ugly remarks that crossed our minds....and a few that even crossed my lips.... it did end that way.
As we sat there, it was so easy to confirm that what we were facing was the adversary who was not pleased with our efforts and was determined to fight against us. With that came a great assurance that we were indeed on God's path for our family!!!! Praise God for overflowing washers that make a HUGE mess and unplanned days of work! My house is literally upside down right now, but I am celebrating a victory! Thank you God for offering this "neon sign" that declares that we are Yours and You are pleased with our efforts!

And friends, as you think of us, please pray for God's continued work within our family to be recognized as what it is and that we would bring Him glory in all we do. (and say!) :)

John 15:5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me, and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cure for Control Freak-Ness

Ok, just to be clear before we start, I KNOW the ultimate cure is Christ, really, I get that. However, it is still my ultimate struggle! To have a plan, a process, something to clearly follow that offers predictability, a schedule, and well....control. Is that too much to ask? :) Sometimes, yes. When that plan, process, predictability, schedule, control replaces God's plan, process, all-knowing, completely capable, schedule or control, it absolutely is.
I'm realizing that I've really become quite good at rationalizing it all too. Even convincing myself at times that I'm really not trying to take control of a particular situation, but rather just creating order....after all, order is a good thing. But when I start this rationalization, I have to check my heart. And thankfully my God is patient and gracious and continues to tenderly teach me the lesson of letting go. Reality is, I DON'T HAVE CONTROL, HE DOES. And that is the absolute perfect and safest place for all control to reside, in His mighty, capable, all-knowing and loving hands. This doesn't mean that I don't have a job, a purpose, or a responsibility....He has entrusted many, many things to me that I am indeed accountable for. What it does mean is stopping all my anxiousness. When I spend time with Him, talking with Him about the desires of my heart, asking Him to reveal His plan and purpose for me, even giving Him little hints as to what I would like best, (as if He didn't already know!) I should rest peacefully, fully trusting that in His time, He will make His will for me known so clearly that I have not a single doubt. And when He does, I should welcome it with obedience and excitement, acknowledging that the God of the Universe is lovingly allowing me to be an active part of His eternal plan. What more could I ask for???

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

Ephesians 3:20 To Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work in us, to Him be glory for ever and ever!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Your Love Oh Lord!

Your LOVE Oh Lord
Reaches to the Heavens
Stretches to the sky
Your RIGHTEOUSNESS is like a mighty mountain
Your JUSTICE flows like the oceans tide
I will lift my voice to worship you MY KING
I will find my strength in the shadow of your wings

I am in awe of you Father! The way you love me is overwhelming and unbelievable! Your willingness, no, better, your desire to hear my prayers....and then answer them....even be in route to answer them before they were ever prayed. Amazing. Thank you! I am full of praise and gratitude and humbled by your attentiveness. To think, You, The Creator of all, cares enough to speak to my heart and use me to reveal Yourself to others. Not sure what else to do with that right now but simply soak it up.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Edisto Beach...I'm in LOVE!

We had such a wonderful and relaxing time on our beach trip! The weather was delightful and we all had a blast! Standing at the edge of the ocean and experiencing a part of His creation that we don't often get to was incredible and breathtaking and a reminder of His awesome love that He would make that for us to enjoy and celebrate!

Can't wait to go back! :)