May 26, 2017

I Would Treasure Your Prayers

First of all, I just have to say a HUGE THANK YOU to so many of you who have made my trip to South Africa possible! I have received and turned in all the money I needed for the trip. Without Kevin's estate being settled, I wasn't quite sure how it would all work, but God provided through lots of people and He has funded the whole trip! I stand amazed!

I come to you today with some ways you can pray for me leading up to and during the trip:

-Pray that my emotions and grief would not rule me in the weeks before I leave. There will be a lot of activity and little sleep, a sure-fire recipe for being a hot, crazy mess! I have one week of VBS set building and prep, a week of VBS, a week to pack the three of us, then I am off! YIKES! Specifically, pray for that last week. Not only do I have a lot of packing to do in that time, it's another big anniversary and, as I have learned, it's the days leading up to and following these big days that prove to be the hardest and most draining! June 14 would have been our 14th wedding anniversary. June 16 I finally get to see Kevin's mom for the first time since the funeral (and I know there will be tears because I won't be able to hold them back.) June 17 I say goodbye to my kiddos as they board the plane to go spend some sweet time with Kevin's family. June 19 we drive to Chicago and board the plane and start this special trip. That's a lot of emotion and grief and who knows what else all in a few short days. I know that it would normally mean that I would be useless for a few days, struggling to get out of bed and finding it hard to see God's hand. I do not want to start this trip that way. Would you join me in praying for Divine healing and intervention in my grief in those days?

-I will be away from my kids from June 17-July 1. That's a long time! And there won't be very much opportunity for communication in that time. Would you pray for my momma heart to not be distracted so much by the missing them that I miss the precious ones in front of me who have no hope of ever seeing their momma's again on this earth? Ask the Lord to help me pour my momma heart on those who will be right in front of me. Pray for the hearts of my children while we are apart. They are nervous. I get asked a lot if I am sure I will be back. The truth is, I can't promise that. They will be extra emotional because of their nerves and won't have mom or daddy there to comfort them (which God is using to soften my heart even more for the precious kiddos we'll get to meet on the trip.) It's just a reality that, if I don't return from this trip, my kids will be orphans. They will be well-loved and cared for, but they will be orphans. Do I trust God enough to face that reality head on and still choose obedience? Do I live that faith out enough in front of my children that they, too, find comfort in God's sovereignty and can trust Him while I am gone? I don't know. But pray that God will do a mighty work in all of our hearts while we are apart. Of course, also pray for Ethan's salvation. Oh, that salvation would come to our house!

-Pray for our travel. Lots can go wrong and so many things can affect our flights, etc. Pray that we will remain calm and a good witness of our amazing Father, regardless of what may happen.

-Pray for our ministry among the locals, both at Bethesda and in the surrounding community. We truly want to love and serve these beautiful people. We want to do that however the Lord asks. It could be peeling potatoes, playing on the playground, crying over hard losses, learning to pronounce their names correctly, taking an interest in their culture, or a million other things. Pray that our hearts would be sensitive to the Spirit moving and our words and actions would be led by the Spirit at all times.

-Pray for the Lord's hand of salvation to sweep over Bethesda that many would know Him and accept His free gift of salvation in their lives.

Thank you again for loving me well and helping take this trip I have been looking forward to for years. I can't wait to see the Lord move and work and blow my mind!!

May 07, 2017

So I Had a Crazy Idea...

OK, maybe two crazy ideas!

The first is that I am running a half marathon in two weeks (May 20). That's right, I am willingly running 13.1 miles. I have no idea what possessed me to do such a thing, other than it strangely makes me feel like there's some extra connection with Kevin because he enjoyed running. Not that I ever ran with him while he was alive, but now that I am running, I so wish that was one yes I would have said. If he was here, once he got over the shock that I am actually doing it, he would be so proud and be my biggest fan!

The second crazy idea was that there must be some way to use this to raise support to get our church's mission team to South Africa this summer. We'll be working at Bethesda (http://bethesdaoutreach.org/) with my dear friends Ben and Megan Craig (The Craig Family Tour) and several surrounding churches near Bethesda. I cannot wait to go on this trip and see the amazing work the Lord is doing there!

So here's my crazy plan: get some people to pledge money per mile that I run during the half-marathon that will be used to either purchase plane tickets or purchase supplies and gifts for the children and missionaries at Bethesda. I know it's only two weeks away, so this might not be the most amazing idea I've ever had, but I am hoping it will be one that will open the door to allow more people to be part of this trip, without ever leaving their homes. Plus, the checks can be made out to Calvary Baptist Church and what you donate will be tax deductible.

So, if you would like to donate, you can let me know by contacting me here on the blog or on Facebook. Even if you just donate $1/mile, that would be great. (Barring some unforeseen, crazy events, I'll be running 13.1 miles, but we'll just call it good at 13! It makes the math easier!) If even 10 people would donate $5/mile, that would be $650 dollars toward the trip! That would be such a huge blessing for me and our team!

I know, this isn't super official or very organized, but I'd love to have you journey with us on this trip, whether through prayer, financial support, or both. (And you know there will be at least one post when I get back!!!)


May 04, 2017

Because I Needed These Reminders Today

I went back through one of my old journals this morning (thank you, Larinee Dennis for the idea). I started writing in it in January 2016, not knowing how little time I had left with my precious husband. This journal included desperate pleas for salvation and healing, precious scriptures that were reminding me God is in control, and the broken-hearted ramblings of a woman who suddenly found herself as a widow and mother.

Just thought I'd share of a  few of the entries that gave me comfort this morning: