Monday, January 12, 2015

One Word 365: Tend 2015

In my perfect world, I slip away on January 1st and spend the day in solitude, prayer, reflection and planning.

In my real world, it's January 12th and I'm stealing an hour during nap-time. It's not perfect, but it will have to do. It's a "partial solution", as Tsh Oxenreider would say.

My year of #here 2014 was such a success. That word met me pretty much everyday. I didn't stay present every moment, but I did a little better. And this year's word is just taking it to the next level.

Tend: to care for, to watch over, protect, nurture.

There are so many directions this word may go- tending a flock, tending a garden, tending a fire... but the one essential element in each of those tasks is paying attention and doing the work.  If the shepherd falls asleep, the sheep are at risk. If the gardener fails to water the plants, they will shrivel and die. If you don't build a fire well and keep it fed, the flame will go out. Paying attention AND doing the work. It has to be both. Last year I practiced paying attention, but now it's time to do something with these moments!

So that is where I am setting my heart this year- to tend well my relationship with God, my family and marriage, and my home, Nothing else will matter if those fall apart. Everything else will spring from those three things.

What's your word for 2015?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Celebrating Community

we're four months in. we've already got a two year term under our belts. we made friends that first term {amazing friends} some of whom are still here. and so when we returned we knew people, we were coming back home. so why was I feeling so lost?

goodbye lunch with Vanessa 2013
remember that time I met my BFF online {my side of the story here} {and her side}? and we ended up spending every Thursday together for the first year? and how even now from Canada to Uganda our hearts still beat to the same rhythm? we knew her term was only two years.  i knew she wasn't going to be here when we got back. goodbyes stink, even when you do them well. but it was still sad to face reality on this side. she was the one i would text in the middle of the day when my kids did something hilarious. or the one I could call late at night when I needed prayer. and I miss her.

and so in some ways I felt like I was starting all over. and then as I thought about it God brought to mind all the lovelies who are still here and the new friends I am beginning to make. and God reminded me- if He was able to do it once, He can do it again. He has friends in mind for me. and He also reminded me that loneliness is ok if I allow it to push me closer to His heart. and that He is here. always.

Oasis ladies, new teammate, old friend, new friends
and then there was the moment I heard BIG NEWS that this lady was moving from Indonesia to Kampala! and i wondered if we would become friends. and we met for coffee. our boys played. and then we decided to start meeting for weekly Bible study with two other ladies who were new to Kampala. and friendship began to blossom. we meet at our favorite pizza place for Ladies Night Out {with kids, when any one of our husbands are traveling}. and our boys say "That was the funnest night I ever had" and "I never laughed so hard I couldn't breathe before" and "I really like that family".

but it's still hovering around the surface til that one day we got real and discussed our core issues and it tumbles out that we. need. each. other. and walls come down. and text messages start flying. and we discover we may have just found what we are looking for.

Two great posts that have really encouraged me lately:

Friday, November 14, 2014

Celebrate {in}dependence

I'm over here joining the party at The Grove. Waving my flag... can you see it? It's the one in the middle. Yep. The white one.

I'm celebrating freedom this week. Not the independence type of freedom, but the upside-kingdom type of freedom... freedom {in} dependence on Him!  And it is such a relief.

He has been extending me {and you} an invitation to the promised land- a land flowing with milk and honey, a land of security, a land of peace and joy... this is what sanctification looks like: a life wholly possessed by God.  He longs for us to cease striving, to give up our independence, to surrender all. He is calling us to just breathe and live in love with Him, right here.  All that He asks is for us to love Him, to walk in obedience to Him and to hold fast to His hand.  He does all the rest! He even causes us to desire Him and gives the ability to obey!  It's all Him!  Hallelujah!

A few truths I'm learning to celebrate since attending Thrive Retreat:

  • Truth #1: He just wants me to walk with Him in love, holding fast to His hand- to do the things I see Him doing, to heed the small prompts of His Spirit, and to only take up what He lays upon me each day. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.
  • Truth #2: I am His temple, the place He has chosen His name to abide, His dwelling place. And so all that I do in this body can be my offering. I can rejoice in all to which I put my hand.
  • Truth #3: He wants to enlarge my borders- He is the God of freedom! Within His walls I am absolutely free to do whatever I please, because He is within me. My delight in His gifts brings joy to His heart.  Even my care for this "temple" {self-care, rest, exercise, healthy eating, getting a shower} ministers to Him.
  • Truth #4: Service then becomes overflow of the heart. I want to please Him, because I adore Him and enjoy Him. He fills and fills as I allow Him to take care of me and then my cup runneth over! Pure gift.
  • Truth #5: Since it's all Him, I can ask for help. I need Him and I need others. Dependence is good for me and good for community.

I'm overwhelmed today by His grace and goodness. And kicking myself for making this Christian life harder than He ever intended. Let's get this party started!

{The Scriptures inspiring these thoughts come from our daily reading in the Autumn Harvest Challenge. Deuteronomy 10:8, Deuteronomy 11:22-24, Deuteronomy 12:5-7, Psalm  44:8}

Stay tuned tomorrow for Celebrating Community!

What are you celebrating today? Leave a comment!

Friday, November 07, 2014

Solo Mama Survival Planner {free printable}

We shared this quote HERE years ago- but it is relevant now as Josh is traveling more often for ministry.  Pray with us while he is away- here is why:
"But why was this frustration of sickness allowed?  One cannot always discern the reason for these things, but two are plain to us: (1) We learned that when one member of the party was thrusting out into Satan's territory, it was also necessary to put a prayer guard over those who stayed at home.  We were all praying for John and his party as they pressed into the demon-plagues territory of Goomoo.  Those prayers cleared the party's way (they were much blessed there) so Satan, in furious spite, struck at the unprotected home base.  Both those who go down to battle and those who stay by the stuff need prayer-coverage.  We have never forgotten this lesson." -Isobel Kuhn, In the Arena 

Pray for me and our kids, and Lillian as our men thrust out into Satan's territory.  If you will stand guard over these who stay home- please leave a comment!

One of the precious reasons I stay home :)
And as I stay home I've got plans in place to stay well!  If you're a mama who finds herself home while your husband travels- I pray that this little planner will help you stay well!

Download Solo Mama Survival Planner HERE 
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