Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wheres the Word?

I told Maggi about Pastor Jim. He was my youth pastor when I grew up, and is now Maggi's children's pastor. When I was growing up, if we were able to "catch" him without his Bible, he would give us a dollar. I told Maggi that I was the first to catch him without his Bible, when we were on a mission trip (he just got out of the pool) but needless to say, I caught him (I love a good challenge).

Well, this has inspired Maggi. For the last 2 weeks, she has kept the Word with her, in this little purse she carries around her. She wears it everywhere. I did make her take it off for horseback lessons. She said she doesn't want to be caught without her Bible ever again. She pulls the tiny Gideon out in the car, at school, the dinner table, whever and whenever.

I talked to Pastor Jim today,and told him what an inspiration he was to Maggi and me.
I love that.
I love that Pastor Jim is there for my little girls.
I love even more that Maggi has hidden the Word in her pocket book, and in her heart.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mommy I will give my piggy bank

As we were driving around Clover dropping every off every one to their activies, Maggi asked if we were poor. I asked why she would think that, and she said it was because we are doing things differently, and had heard Dave and I say we didn't have the money to do. . . (whatever that was at the time).

I explained to her that we were trying to save our money to be able to go to Costa Rica this summer, and we weren't poor just trying to be wise, to make our dream come true.

Then Emma saaid, mommy you can have the money in piggy bank, and the money I was saving for horsecamp. Maggi said, Yea mom, you don't have to get me a birthday gift and I will give my money to Cost Rica to.

Again this mom is redfacing and fighting off a complete breakdown. The cars beside me were probably like, That girl driving those little girls needs some serious help.

Those girls. The ones I want to hang by their toenails for not hanging up their bookbags, the same ones who act like they cant hear me when I call them in from outside, the same girls who tracked dirty shoes through the living room.

Those girls. Got it.

God commands us to do good. to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. I Timothy 6:17-19

Those girls are teaching IT to me.

Betty Scott Stam

This is Betty's Prayer

Lord I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Thy Will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to Thee to be Thine forever. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou Wilt, work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever.

She lived out her prayer when she and her husband became missionaries in China.

Her prayer was answered whe she was martyred after the communists took over in 1949.

Again I am confronted with at any cost. Becoming a generous giver.

Lord please give me the courage to pray this prayer. All of it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bring Your Pearls

This weekend, the girls had some sweet girls spend the night with them. Dave was working, and since I home now, we can have some serious sleepovers. I was talking with their mom on the phone, and the girls hollered downstairs. . .

Tell them to bring a dress up hat and a tea party dress!

They decided to throw a tea party! I had nothing to do with it. Nothing.

The girls arrived, and went promptly upstairs and changed into their dresses. I told the girls I would make them some "pigs in the blanket" and some tea for their party.

So I went upstairs to deliver the tea, and was completely blown away.

These girls were good. They had set a delightful table setting, using only leftovers and things found around the house. (ok I threw in my china tea pot and cups) but other than that. . .

they found the roses left over from the father daughter dance
they found the dollies left over from Emma's Birthday party
they found the plates left over from a back to school tea party
they found the little pastel puffs left over from Emma's birthday party

It was pretty cute.

Smart girls, going Green, and not being wasteful... So smart.

And our friends that came over, dressed in high fashion, complete with gloves and hats, of course (being from the south) had their pearls.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Generous Giver

This Sunday, Pastor Gunn hit me pretty hard.

His sermon was on 2 Corinthians 9:7. "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

His sermon focused on Giving. The sermon was meant to challenge people to be faithful in their financial giving (one of the few times Pastor Gunn has probably ever preached on money).

Giving, and Giving faithfully was a lesson I learned growing up in the family I did. I continue to watch my parents give sacrificially. When I was young I witnessed them give when they didn't have it to give, and then watched God bless them. They still give of their time, money, cars, home, anything they have they will give to those around them.

So. . .I learned that you can absolutely NOT outgive God. It is not possible. What He gives in return is so much more than we can imagine. I have also learned, that what I think I have, is not really mine. The house, the cars, the clothes, the tiny bit of savings, the boat (that I dream about but don't really own) all of it. I don't own it. He does. It is sooooooo not mine. I have nothing without HIM.

So I was kindof cruising through the sermon, thinking yep! check me off! I am good on this. I would give it all.

Then the Holy Spirit sat right down beside me, and made me realize I don't have "it" all. While I am ready to give my house, the used cars, the 700 pounds of scrapbooking paper, the little bit of cash I have, I am trying to hold on to other things.

See, I have been struggling the last 2 weeks. I thought I was so ready to just pack up and go, and where HE leads my family, there we will be. But, I have been scared. REALLY scared.

Scared about my girls.

I have worried about their safety, what there little eyes might see, about giving up their political freedom, their freedom to run and play in a yard without a guard or barbed wire fence, worried about their innocence, worried they won't like the food where we go, worried that I can't keep them safe and innocent.

Worried about them.

So this Sunday when the Holy Spirit sat down beside, I got "it".

I need to be a generous giver . . . with my girls.

Because they are not mine either. They are HIS. And how much more HE loves them. HE is the one who holds them in HIS hand. They aren't mine, I can't do any of the things without HIM.

So needless to say, I had to go to the alter. OK, I had to crawl to the alter. I am sure it was not a pretty site. All those tears, red face, snot dripping down. I could barely breath through the tears. Have you ever been there?

I can imagine that the people around me thought "Sister, just pay your tithes already"

I am still fighting back tears as I write this. Because this is such a hard thing. I mean. . . outloud I say, Lord I trust you. I trust that you will take care of my family. (I trust that you can help me find matching bows and dresses in the village trade shop). I trust you will watch over my girls. . .But in my heart there is a strong battle waging.

I am no Abraham. How in the world did he walk that little boy to the altar? I am no way comparing my applying to be a missionary to what Abraham did, please don't think that. But the sacrifice and the battle that must have taken place in Abraham. Unbelievable.

He was a generous giver.

Please Holy Spirit, help me be a generous giver. With All I have.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Webkinz and Roses

Dave made our Valentine Special.

He brought flowers home for me, and webkins for the girls.

We Heart Dave

My Love Story

I have a beautiful love story.

It was 1994. I was going to spend the summer before I started nursing school in Belgium.

That is how it started.

However, my passport has a stamp from Romania instead of Belgium. Because God's plan is so much better than we can imagine, my summer took a different turn.

Let me back up a little.
I was about 9 years old at South Carolina Summer Camp for the AG (Possume Kingdom). I meet a new friend, Dedrea. She was one of the cool kids who new everyone and everyone knew her. She had access to the air conditioned rooms. She was cool(literally). Every summer after that I would see her. Eventually as we got older we would see each other at other state wide events. (youth convention, Aim trips, etc.) Well we ended up being freshman at Southeastern University together. We didn't realize the other would be there. After a semester of having strange college roomates, we decided to room together. Those were good times (we learned that just because you have checks in your checkbook does not mean you have money in your account -true story). After our freshman year, she moved back home to Greenville, SC.

After my sophmore year, I felt called to nursing school. I decided to choose the University of South Carolina at Spartanburg. I called Dedrea , she talked to her dad and soon I had a wonderful new roomate named Kelly (handpicked by Sonny, Dedrea, and God). (a story for another blog)

Stay with me here.

Well Dedrea's dad, Sonny, was the missions pastor for our church, and since I was unable to go to the mission's trip they were going to take later that year, he was going to help find a mission's trip to go on. Originally it was going to be Belgium. Later it was changed to Romania, as that was the trip the church was going to take later.

I was supposed to be in charge of helping students from the International Bible their English. Well when I arrived to Romania, there were no students at the Bible College. They were on break (and would not be returning till after I left). But the President of the Bible college had some office duties for me. After a few days I called home so upset. I felt I had really missed the boat on this, and even asked if my dad could get in contact with a missionary he knew in Albania. He tried, but they felt that it would be unsafe to attempt to go there, or travel there as a single female. So I was "stuck" in Romania.

After being completely humbled, and really stpending time in prayer, I felt that I needed to wait on the Lord, and learn the lessons He was teaching me. I met several people while working at the Bible College ( ok. . . I would attach myself to anyone who spoke English). They had meet the youth pastor from one of the churches in Bucharest, and said that he needed a female chaperone for a camping trip, would I be interested.

What I didn't mention before is that while I was waiting on the lessons from the Lord, I had been battling a bad case of bed bug bites, had only eaten bread and cheese, and cried just about every night, so a camping trip on the Black Sea, away from the bedbugs and bread sounded heavenly. The youth pastor (Dave) was supposed to come by the Bible college and meet me.

Here is where it gets good.

Dave heard me before he met me. He was walking in, and heard me trying to communicate to someone, and I was laughing very hard. He said, and I quote. . .

Is that her?
She is Violently Evervescent

end of quote

What a first impression!

Soon after that, we boarded a train, and rode cross country to the Black Sea to camp. If you knew before Dave, you know this was not at all what I was used to. Oh how I was being stretched. On that trip I learned what a Turkish Toilet was. It was good. Dave and I became pretty good friends (what else were supposed to do) He even came to my rescue on a dark beach with creepy police (being 6'4" in Europe is a good thing).

Dave thought I had a boyfriend back in the states, so it was all about getting to know each other and serving along side each other. About 5 days before I left, Dave finally asked me out on our first date. We were sitting at an outside cafe drinking warm coke with no ice, and I said, "a lei (Romanian money) for your thoughts" and . . .

that is the beginning.

Our first date was a train ride to the mountains of Romania to tour a castle, Dave had packed us a nice lunch (bread and cheese, and a pastry we fondly call "harps") I found a picnic blanket and we had a great time.

I left Romania with my passport stamped, and my heart stolen.

We spent our courtship an ocean apart.
Our phone calls cost over $3.00 a minute.
We had enough frequent flyer miles to go to Hawaii on our honeymoon.
We sent faxes to each at wierd times.
We sent care packages via anyone who would take them.
He bought my engagement ring before he told me he loved me (or even kissed me).

That is my love story.
It is a good story.

Only God can place a call on young children on different sides of the country, send them to Europe at the same time, bind them together in ministry, and give them an amazing love story.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Emma turns 6

Oh My! My sweet Emma turned 6 last week.

That girl is so much fun to be around.

We had alot of fun celebrating. She had a spend the night ballet sleepover. We danced, ate, laughed, played pranks on the neighbors, watched a movie and even an odd shaped ballet slipper pinata. We decorated for the party, with hand made flowers. The girls got to take them for party favors.

Emma even helped decorate!
We love watching the beautiful girl Emma is becoming.

She has the big beautiful eyes, that light up the room. She has a great sense of humor, and actually makes the family laugh out loud. She is a great student, picking up information really quickly. She has a heart that follows after the Lord, and is applying his principles in her young life.