In about 8 hours we will head down the road and say farewell to Canada. These last couple of weeks have been full of sweet memories but also tearful good-byes.
It started with a beautiful farewell party that blessed our socks off. We were humbled to tears throughout the afternoon by the friends and church family who were there to encourage us! We shared the following in a thank you to those who came:
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you”
As we look back on the last few months and on the sweet farewell party our hearts are full of thanksgiving for all of you. God has used you to encourage our hearts, speak words of care and wisdom into our lives, and help us to “give thanks in all circumstances.”
You have been instrumentally used by God to remind us of His faithfulness and His personal care over every detail of our lives. We are eternally grateful for your friendship and for the season of life we have had in Canada. We have so many sweet memories!
As we enter a new season of life, we can honestly say that we do so with rejoicing. Thankful for where God brought us and thankful that His hand continues to guide us still. Though there are still uncertainties...He has begun to open doors in amazing ways.
The kids will start school again on Monday at the local Christian school...we never even thought that would have been possible! We stand in awe at how God orchestrated all the details, and the kids are excited (although, I have a feeling they will be a bit nervous on Monday).
Then, just today, God opened the door for us to rent a house from a family in my parent's church. So, our household goods will not be sitting in a "truck terminal" in Portland for months but be filling a home, as of this weekend. We are blown away! What a treasure it continues to be to see God's faithful provision for us. It feels a little bit like we are living Isaiah 30:21:
"Your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left."
Having said that, I have no idea when we will have any type of internet connection for our home...so, don't panic if you email and there is no response...would you just keep praying for us through this time of transition? We would be so grateful! We'll eventually be "up and running" again but it's going to be a bit crazy for a while, I think.:)
"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:8
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Today was "load up the container and Uhaul" day....and it was a great day. We had so much help...from our kiddos being watched and loved on, to coffee and donuts, to more arms then there were things to carry, to cleaning help, to lunch help, and lots of little things in between...we were blessed and humbled.
So many of you have sacrificed on our behalf...both of your time and your resources. Know that the Lord has used you to encourage our hearts, to behold His faithfulness, and to rejoice greatly for the body of Christ!
Thank you from the very bottom of our hearts!!!
Thursday, February 23, 2012
I have had so much to write about and no time to do it! I have often said that we try to "live by" Jim Elliot's quote, "Wherever you are, be all there"...and, in order to do that, blogging has had to take a backseat.
We had a farewell party thrown for us on Sunday and there are not words to describe how it blessed our hearts. I'll still try to come up with words :)...but I wanted to be able to really sit and think as I share about that special day...and that is going to require something I don't have a lot of right now..time!:)
I did want to take a moment to share what Bryan shared with the kids around our dining room table this morning as they headed off for their last day at "Langley Christian Academy".
He read from Ecclesiastes 3 about there being a "time for every purpose under Heaven". I loved what he said....he said that, today, the kids needed to remember that the reason that they were having to say "good-bye" is because God had allowed them to say "hello" in the first place. Though there is sadness in the good-bye, there also should be great thankfulness that He allowed us to say hello to begin with.
I couldn't help but think that the truth he shared extends to all our relationships and the sweet friendships He allowed us to say "hello" to, two years ago. There is room for tears, and there has already been and will be more...but there is also room for sweet thanksgiving over the friendships that He gave us in this season of life!
He closed with Ecclesiastes 3:14:
"I know that all God does will last forever; there is no adding to it or taking from it. God works so people will be in awe of Him."
May we all stand in awe of God today as we rejoice in the plans that He laid out for us before the foundations of the world were put in place. All that God does is for our good and for His glory and, in that, there is much hope, joy, and peace!
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Grace's two favorite things are babies and horses. She often dreams that we adopt babies or that I am pregnant with another baby...but I am quick to let her know that those are dreams that are not going to come true.:)
On Monday, she did have a bit of a dream come true, though. She had a hour horse riding lesson (for her birthday). And it was an extra special gift because she was the only student that was there, so she had a one on one with the trainer the whole time!
Grace was glowing! She loved her time riding the horse (after she brushed it down first!). In fact, the trainer said that she has never had such a fast learner before. Grace was trotting with her horse, Sunshine, by the end of the hour!
Unfortunately, I was not able to take any pictures of her in the riding ring...so, brushing it is!:)
Grace is now asking for more riding lessons and a horse of her own...and I have gone in search of a money tree!:)
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Happy Valentine's Day!
If you have any "Seeds" CD's (and, if you don't...time to find out about them!:)) you'll be excited to hear that they just released a new CD today called "PURITY".
Here is what they are saying about it:
We’re so glad you’re interested in Purity – the new album from Seeds Family Worship.
You can purchase a download of the whole album here
The Purity album is comprised of scripture about purity set to song:
Hope and a Future – Jeremiah 29:11
Do Not Awaken Love – Song of Solomon 8:4
Your Word – Psalm 119:105
Keep Your Heart – Proverbs 4:23
Not Your Own – I Corinthians 6:18-20
Bad Company – I Corinthians 15:33-34
He Humbled Himself – Philippians 2:3-5,8
Preeminent – Colossians 1:18
Purity is the first album in Seeds’ youth division and seventh album from Seeds–bringing the total to 79 portions of scripture set to music. This album was created in conjunction with FamilyLife and will be part of their Passport2Purity Curriculum in May.
Seeds music has been a sweet blessing to our family for many years....what a gift it is to have such great music to help us hide God's Word in our hearts! And, on Valentine's Day...a day full of "hearts"...what a great time to be thinking about ways to become more like a woman or man after God's own heart!
Monday, February 13, 2012
There came a time when many of those who "followed" Jesus turned back. Jesus asked the 12 if they wanted to go away, as well. Peter's response in John 6:68-69 is just beautiful:
"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know, that You are the Holy One of God."
It reminds me of the words of David in Psalm 73:25:
"Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you."
There are times my heart echoes the words of Peter and David...but there are also times that my heart forgets and desires my own desires, my own plan, my own words. And then I go after those things and wonder why I get discouraged, frustrated, and sad.
How many times have I committed the two evils that God was appalled and shocked by when the Israelites committed them:
"...they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water." Jeremiah 2:13
Nothing satisfies apart from Jesus. Only in His presence is there fullness of joy. Only in Him does hope not disappoint. He alone has the Words of eternal life, the Words that do not return void, the Words that pierce to the core of my heart. Only in Him is my soul revived by living water!
There have been many verses...many words of eternal life...that have revived our hearts, filled us with joy, comforted our sadness, and given us hope. Thought they might encourage you, too:
"Who has spoken and it came to pass unless the Lord has commanded it?" Lam. 3:37
"The Lord will fight for you, you have only to be silent." Exodus 14:14
"It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord." Lam. 3:26
"For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light do we see light." Psalm 36:9
"The Lord is my portion, says my soul. Therefore I will hope in Him." Lam 3:24
And then there are whole chapters and books that have renewed and strengthened our hearts and minds:
Praise the Lord that no matter where He may take any of us (in a physical sense), our hearts and minds never have to wonder where to go....the answer will always be the same every time...straight into the arms of Jesus!
Sunday, February 5, 2012
People ask us how we are holding up and it has been a blessing to be able to honestly say that we are truly doing well. God's "peace that passes understanding" is very much "guarding our hearts and our minds" though many things seem a bit uncertain. We have a sweet hope in the God who always keeps His promises. God has encouraged our hearts greatly through the care and concern of others and the ways that He has used them to meet physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. And, His Word is living and has kept certain places of our hearts from going into hibernation or wanting to give up all together!
Having said that, there are still days, hours, and moments of having to preach truth into our hearts, having to cry out for joy, repent for putting our hope in the wrong places, plead for peace, and renew our mind with God's promises.
Those moments of crying out come quickly when I am packing. In fact, the last couple of days, I have been struggling to find one good thing about packing. There are more steps in our packing then there is in most of my recipes!
-first, sort through items and put into three piles: keep, throw away, or give away
-decide who the "give away items" should go to
-figure out what items we will need to keep and take with us to my parents and what items can be packed for storage
-find the appropriate boxes
-fill it with the items we are keeping
-get up and go find something to wrap the breakable items with
-tape and label the box
-repeat process over and over and over again!
Hmmm....sounds like I am complaining, huh? Well, I was. And then God's Word convicted my heart. Here is what I read in Philippians 1:
"I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel...and in that I rejoice."
Paul said that while he was IN PRISON! How could he rejoice? Because his goal in life was that the gospel would go forth. If it meant he had to be in prison for that to take place, then he would joyfully stay in that prison cell. Wow!
I know that I am "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." (I Peter 2:9)
And I was convicted...because if God has seen fit that the best way I can "proclaim His excellencies" and "advance the gospel" is by packing boxes then I want to rejoice. If Paul can rejoice in a prison cell, I can certainly rejoice, through the Spirit, in my mountain of boxes!