Thursday, January 29, 2009

Snow Storm 2009

Louisville got hammered by quite a serious winter storm. As of right now most of the major roads are clear but side roads are still treacherous and due to the large amount of ice that has covered most of the trees, many limbs are down and thousands of people are without power. Half of our apartment complex has no power but thankfully our section has power and heat. I seriously am not sure how we would have managed without that. Here are a few pictures of the areas around our apartment.
Jon and I took Paisley out for her first romp in snow. She didn't know what to do with herself!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snow day...but not for me

It has been snowing/sleeting almost all night and we now have a good couple of inches covering the ground. JCPS County Schools have today off but my girls still attend school on campus. They, unfortunately for them, only get an hour delay. However the delay means I have to stay at work an hour or so later than usual. We'll see how the roads look when I leave Maryhurst. This weather is supposed to continue on until Thursday. One of the frustrating things is that I have to be back at work tonight around 11:00pm for a meeting and then a partial shift. I seriously hate driving in snow and ice.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Resting in Him

This post may not make a lot of sense and I apologize for that. I'm still working through what I've been struggling with lately so hang in there with me.

Lately I have been feeling less at peace with the journey and more restless to arrive at some destination. It has been difficult for me to reign in my thoughts as they wonder and dream about what is or could be to come. I am quick to talk about the next step when my feet aren't already firmly planted in their current place. This restless feeling has led me to look into other jobs and possible volunteer opportunities but nothing has resonated with me. I think I'm more interested in something new than in any one specific thing. A change of pace sounds nice right about now but this restless feeling has been overwhelming and I can't seem to pin down what exactly I'm yearning for. I guess my yearning could be for a number of valid things but the problem is that I feel pulled in so many different directions I really have no specific leading in any way at all, so that leaves me wandering around. Ugh.

Some of the random yearnings I feel in my heart:
- adoption/starting our family
- a new job
- missions
- India
- ministry (intercultural, working with young women, evangelism, spurring the church on to involvement with missions)
- deep friendships (sharing, trust, growth, openness)
- true and gospel centered fellowship feel like I'm doing something worthwhile.

As I was browsing the internet for a new and improved job (which I didn't find) I became somewhat discouraged and decided to stop looking all together. Instead I was drawn to spend some time reading and praying. I came across this particular sentence and it stood out to me.

"It is better to wait upon God with patience, than to put confidence in anything in this lower world."
- The Life and Diary of David Brainerd (p. 103)

Like St. Augustine once said, "Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee." So tonight I am asking God to give me the strength to trust Him enough that I can rest in Him. That's not an easy thing for me to do; my feet are very prone to wander and I have a hard time letting go of the reigns. We'll see how this "resting" goes. I have a lot of questions clouding my mind specifically related to what I'm supposed to be doing with my life. I guess thoughts regarding those questions will have to be saved for another post.

Learning to rest
- Kristen

A good article on Restlessness and Worry:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Photo Challenge: God

My heart is stirred

My thoughts have been consumed with myself lately but tonight the Lord has revived a part of my heart that is often stifled by the business of work and hectic schedule of life. Tonight my heart is once again burdened for the unreached. Although my husband and I do not feel called to full-time missions my heart remains heavy. Here are some of my favorite quotes that spur me to pray for those risking their lives to share with others the amazing salvation and hope that is found in Jesus Christ.

"I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light" -- John Keith Falconer

"The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed" -- Hudson Taylor

"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose" -- Jim Elliot

"The Bible is not the basis of missions; missions is the basis of the Bible" -- Ralph Winter

"Some wish to live within the sound of a chapel bell; I wish to run a rescue mission within a yard of hell." -- C.T. Studd

"If God calls you to be a missionary, don't stoop to be a king" -- Jordan Grooms

"If you found a cure for cancer, wouldn't it be inconceivable to hide it from the rest of mankind? How much more inconceivable to keep silent the cure from the eternal wages of death." -- Dave Davidson

"Let my heart be broken with the things that break God's heart" -- Bob Pierce

"The command has been to 'go,' but we have stayed -- in body, gifts, prayer and influence. He has asked us to be witnesses unto the uttermost parts of the earth ... but 99% of Christians have kept puttering around in the homeland." -- Robert Savage

"Believers who have the gospel keep mumbling it over and over to themselves. Meanwhile, millions who have never heard it once fall into the flames of eternal hell without ever hearing the salvation story." -- K.P. Yohannan

"'Not called!' did you say?'Not heard the call,' I think you should say.Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father's house and bid their brothers and sisters and servants and masters not to come there. Then look Christ in the face -- whose mercy you have professed to obey -- and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish His mercy to the world. -- William Booth

"Expect great things from God. Attempt great thing for God." - William Carey

"Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't." - John Piper

“I cared not where or how I lived, or what hardships I went through, so that I could but gain souls to Christ.” - David Brainerd

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Words of Encouragement

Life continues to be hectic, sadly enough I don't think it will ever really slow down. To be honest I think I am beginning to enjoy the journey ore than ever before. I'm learning each day to take those fleeting moments of solitude and silence to spend with the Lord even if they are my short car rides to work or even times when I am doing laundry and cleaning. It's encouraging how God chooses to show his face in the midst of the mundane. I was having a rough day last week and when I woke up to get ready for work this is what I saw...

As I looked at the flowers the pressure of life and work subsided and I once again realized the beauty of God's grace shown in the relationship I have with my husband. I have my days when I am grumpy, irritable and no fun to be around. But God's love and grace is often showered on me through the selfless love of my husband. I'm blessed. These past few weeks have been refreshing with Jon out of school we have had more time to devote to our marriage and more time to spend growing in our relationship with the Lord. We have really enjoyed life without the pressures of school and I'm beginning to see a little more of what things will be like when school is out of the picture.

However the roller coaster of life starts up again on Tuesday when Jon begins classes. This is officially his last full semester leaving him with one easy clean up semester in the fall. Soon Jon will get back to the busy life of classes, studying, and papers resulting in less time with me. We will once again face many struggles to keep our marriage focused on the Lord and live life selflessly for each other. It's easy for me to start feeling sorry for myself and how hard things may get but right now...I'm thankful. This time is precious and fleeting. Before we know it we will have a house full of kids and a ministry at a church filled with challenges of its own. Life is messy and will get even more chaotic but right now I find myself at a place of contentment. There are still very strong desires on my heart to start a family, work towards adoption, be involved in church ministry, and get a house but I feel a deep yearning in my spirit to take in this time and learn all I can while I wait patiently for the Lord to direct our steps.

Lately I've been blessed reading through The Life and Diary of David Brainerd, who was a missionary to the Native Americans in the 1700s I believe. His writing has been a huge source of encouragement for me. As I have read his honest journal entries I am reminded of how life ebbs and flows with seasons of drought and seasons of harvest and sweet times of fellowship with the Lord. As I have read through this man’s story I am beginning to appreciate more of the journey his life took. He struggled with depression but the grace of our Lord sustained him just like it does for all of us who put our trust in the God of our salvation. This recent section I read left me feeling blessed and encouraged. I was reminded that we can cling to God in the midst of this roller coaster of life, during the dry spells and during the triumphs because we know that we serve the God of Moses, the God who brought down the fire on Mount Carmel during Elijah’s day and the same God who powerfully moved in the 1st century church. This is our God! May this be an encouragement to you as it was to me.

“Thursday, Oct
. 20. Had but little sense of divine things this day. Alas, that so much of my precious time is spent with so little of God! Those are tedious days, wherein I have no spirituality.


“Thursday, Nov. 3. Spent this day in secret fasting and prayer, from morning till night. Early in the morning I had some small degree of assistance in prayer. Afterwards read the story of Elijah the prophet, 1 Kings, xvii. xviii. and xix. chapters, and also 2 Kings, ii. and iv. chapters. My soul was much moved, observing the faith, zeal, and power of that holy man; how he wrestled with God in prayer, &c. My soul then cried with Elisha, ‘Where is the Lord God of Elijah!' Oh, I longed for more faith! My soul breathed after God, and pleaded with him, that a ‘double portion of that spirit,' which was given to Elijah, might ‘rest on me.' And that which was divinely refreshing and strengthening to my soul was, I saw that God is the same that he was in the days of Elijah.--Was enabled to wrestle with God by prayer, in a more affectionate, fervent, humble, intense, and importunate manner, than I have for many months past. Nothing seemed too hard for God to perform; nothing too great for me to hope for from him.--I had for many months entirely lost all hopes of being made instrumental of doing any special service for God in the world; it has appeared entirely impossible, that one so black and vile should be thus employed for God. But at this time God was pleased to revive this hope.--Afterwards read the 3rd chapter of Exodus and on to the 20th, and saw more of the glory and majesty of God discovered in those chapters, than ever I had seen before; frequently in the mean time falling on my knees, and crying to God for the faith of Moses, and for a manifestation of the divine glory. Especially the 3rd and 4th, and part of the 14th and 15th chapters, were unspeakably sweet to my soul: my soul blessed God, that he had shown himself so gracious to his servants of old. The 15th chapter seemed to be the very language which my soul uttered to God in the season of my first spiritual comfort, when I had just got through the Red sea, by a way that I had no expectation of. O how my soul then rejoiced in God!way to deliver me from the fear of the Egyptians, when I almost despaired of life.--Afterwards read the story of Abraham's pilgrimage in the land of Canaan: my soul was melted, in observing his faith, how he leaned on God; how he communed with God, and what a stranger he was here in the world. After that, read the story of Joseph's sufferings, and God's goodness to him: blessed God for these examples of faith and patience. My soul was ardent in prayer, was enabled to wrestle ardently for myself, for christian friends, and for the church of God. And felt more desire to see the power of God in the conversion of souls, than I have done for a long season. Blessed be God for this season of fasting and prayer! May his goodness always abide with me, and draw my soul to him!"

Monday, January 12, 2009

Adopt our baby girls, India begs Britons

Last updated at 11:28 09 April 2007

The Indian government wants Britons to adopt India's street children
British couples are being urged to help save millions of Indian baby girls from lives of abuse and misery.

The Indian government is relaxing its adoption rules to encourage more British and other western couples to reduce the number of orphans living on the streets, and abandoned in squalid and dirty children?s homes throughout the country.

There are more than 11 million abandoned children in India , and ministers want more families ? both Indian and British ? to offer loving homes.

Under current rules, it takes more than a year for British and other foreign families to successfully adopt an Indian baby, but under new government plans couples will be able to complete the formalities in just 45 days.

The emphasis will be on finding new families for thousands of babies, most of them unwanted girls dumped in street cots attached to childrens homes in India's major cities.

The government is anxious that infants dumped in homes are given to new families before they are six months old. They fear institutionalisation could starve them of the love and nuturing they need to develop.

The new rules will give new hope to British families who have faced increasing problems adopting overseas. In the last few years Russia, China, Romania and Cambodia have all raised bureaucratic hurdles, and some, like Romania, have suspended foreign adoptions altogether.
India however has unique problems which ministers believe foreign adoption could play a part in solving. Thousands of Indian baby girls are killed at birth by poor mothers who cannot afford the lavish weddings and dowries they would one day be lumbered with, and also by middle-class women under pressure to bear their husband a prized son.

The government has encouraged more street cribs to give mothers of unwanted daughters an alternative to female infanticide. If it is successful, it will mean even more baby girls being dumped in orphanages, and more to find families for.

Officials say they will still give priority to Indian families looking to adopt, but traditional prejudices against adopted children mean too few come forward to help. Each year around 4,000 orphans are adopted, and only three thousand of them are taken in by Indian families.
In some Delhi orphanages, like North Delhi's Cradle home,where around five babies are dumped every week, as many as fifty per cent of unwanted children go to families in Britain , the United States , Spain and Denmark.

Staff at the home say Indian families are often reluctant to take dark skinned babies or children whose complexions are not a good match with their own. The stigma against adoption and infertility is so great that many families adopt a well-matched child and pretend to relatives that it is their own baby.

L.K Mittal, chairman of the Indian government?s Central Adoption Resource Agency, said the new rules, which will come into force in two months? time, are aimed at making more of India ?s orphans available for adoption, and making easier for British and other western couples to give them loving homes.

There will be more domestic adoptions, and more foreign adoptions. The rules we have now are too lengthy and cumbersome it takes a year for a foreigner to take a child from India , but it should be done within a couple of months. Every child needs a home with loving parents.
Where there's a threat of institutionalisation [for the child], and there's a loving foreign family, that's a better option than the orphanages. We want a loving, caring family for every child.' To adopt an Indian child, couples must be financially secure and must have been together for more than five years. They must be between 30 and 55, with a combined age of less than 90. Single people are eligible but not same-sex couples.

The vetting procedure for Britons adopting in India is the same as if they were adopting within Britain. Potential adoptees first have to undergo a 'Homestudy' assessment by the Department for Education and Skills to check they are suitable parents to adopt.

Once a Home Study Report has been issued, the search begins for a child cleared for adoption in India. When a child is matched with British parents, the Indian government's Central Adoption Resource Agency and the courts must issue 'No Objection Certificates' before the adoption is completed.

Under this system, the Indian end of the process has taken a year to complete. The Indian government is planning to impose short deadlines on each stage of the process to make sure it is completed within 45 days. The new rules will come into force within the next three months.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Only Say the Word

A Small Portion of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling
Creation of Adam
- Michelangelo

This past week has been one of beautiful highs and frustrating lows. A few weeks ago I had 6 days or so off of work and Jon and I traveled up to Indianapolis to spend Christmas with his family. It was a wonderful time of refreshment for me and ever since then I feel like my spiritual life has been renewed. The Lord has been speaking to me through what I have been reading and listening to. He has also used people to teach me more of his truth. (I hope to write more on those revelations later.)

Despite having such a wonderful time of renewal, the past three days have been rough. I've noticed that on my days off work I don't normally spend alone time with God. As I tried to think more about why...the only answer I can come up with is a selfish one. I think I consider my days off to belong to me. Those days are MINE. I know I am a selfish creature to the core of my being but I truly believe one area in which I struggle with the most is offering up my time to the Lord to do with it as he wishes. Sadly enough I feel entitled to my days off. I work an odd job with difficult hours and I pick up a lot...I deserve a few days to myself. I guess in the United States that is our mentality but I wholeheartedly believe that is not a godly way to view our time. Along those same lines I refuse to be involved in volunteer work and even time in fellowship with friends because I am held captive by my 3rd shift hours. Heaven forbid I wake up early to spend time in prayer or to lend an ear to a friend in need. My failures leave me utterly broken.

As I returned to work tonight I was angry with my level of self-reliance. I am ashamed to say that all of the time I took for myself was for not. My life these past few days was not used in service to God and due to the fact that I chose not to rely on Him my actions were in no way glorifying to the Lord. I pray that this new work week is a time for God to refocus me and weed out those prideful feelings of self-reliance. I desire that my whole life be dedicated to the Lord...even those hours, minutes and seconds of "my" time which I hold so dear. Lord, release my grasp...Teach me to live for you.

Only Say the Word- Jill Phillips
I must confess I have sinned against you
In what I've done and what I failed to
I have not loved you with my whole heart
But you are merciful, O God
Lord, I am not worthy to receive you
But only say the work and I'll be healed
Good intentions I have wasted
I saw the fruit of that tree and I tasted
But even when I have fallen so far
You are merciful O God
Lord I am not worthy to receive you
Only say the word, Only say the word
Lord I am not worthy to receive you
But only say the word and I'll be healed
It only took one word to breathe life into being
It will only take the same to set me free
Lord I am not worthy to receive you
Only say the word, Only say the word
Lord I am not worthy to receive you
But only say the word and I'll be healed.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

No words

Words escape me tonight. I've spent the majority of the night trying to put my thoughts into coherent words and sentences but unfortunately I have had no luck. Tonight I've been starring at a poorly written entry that needs some life breathed into it but I'm too tired or scattered or..whatever to complete it. So since music often speaks to what is on my heart here are some songs that have resonated with me over the past few weeks. These songs address some topics I hope to write about soon.


A Lot Like Me