Saturday, May 1, 2021

Chosen Banquet

"Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.  God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure."

These are some of the life altering words that we have poured over in the manuscript Bible study of Ephesians we are doing with a unique high school group of eight. 

The markers are scattered and we discover the passage as we read!

Tomorrow we are having a banquet called, "The Chosen Banquet" where we will dress up, eat, listen to a guest speaker, dance, and delight in the truth together. 

Please pray with us, that the truth of these words will penetrate their hearts and give them solid identity in Christ as all of them are processing change and loss.  You can pray with me Ephesians 1:4-5:

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ....

May all eight girls and the three of us leading them know we are chosen in Christ before our parents even existed, we were loved.

to be holy and without fault...

May we together know the holiness and purity we have in that position, not in anything we have done except to believe on the Son! 

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ...

May we feel strong arms of acceptance, warm, full,  and eternal, drawing us to himself

This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure...

May we understand better the great pleasure God has in calling us his own special ones!  

 and 

Ephesians 1:17-19 

"I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.

19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him."

AMEN! 


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Mosquito Net Lesson 2 : Velcro Feet


They say the guy who invented Velcro observed a dog with a burr on it.  He obviously had never lived in Nigeria in dry season or he’d only have to look down at his feet! Honestly, who needs to bend down and pick up the stray baby clothes lying on the floor?  One only has to walk across the room, and you’ve collected articles of clothing as you go!  I affectionately call them my Velcro feet.

After I tuck the mosquito net, I pull my legs into the bed for a nights rest, only to realize that the mosquito net has attached itself to my feet.  I kick both my feet, trying to get them to help each other, but more and more net become entangled around my Velcro feet.  I get annoyed, re-tuck, and pull those feet in before the net has a chance. 

 

Prayer house on Zach's recent retreat.







What lesson can one possibly learn from Velcro feet?  “Beautiful are the feet of him who brings good news…” (Is. 52:7). I know this is poetic because messengers running over rough terrain in that time certainly had rough feet.  However, the meaning of it touches me deeply. If the “word of Christ dwells in us richly,” (Col. 3:16) it overflows into our lives, making our presence sweet to those around us who God has prepared to hear this good news.  We are ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor 5:20), bringing that good news, and therefore, we have beautiful feet! 

 



 

However, I think the dryness of this season, which causes the cracked, calloused, dry Velcro feet is a good reminder. When we let our soul well run dry, the negative attitudes, defensiveness, and unkind speech that is scattered around our lives will surely attach themselves to us.  Our feet are only beautiful if they bear GOOD NEWS!

 

My prayer in this mosquito net lesson is that in every season, no matter how parched the situation threatening my soul is, that I will be a bearer of good, sweet, constructive words and attitudes.  That the good news of Christ WILL dwell in me richly, making my feet truly beautiful. 

Monday, March 15, 2021

Mosquito Net Lesson 1

"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed." Ecc. 4:9 Auntie Jumai and Auntie Abigail (sisters) really do need each other in succeeding to keep our house tidy!
 

We each grabbed a corner of the net and slowly spread it over the sleeping babies on our king-size bed.  We looked at each other surprised and Zach spoke for both of us, “Wow, that was a lot easier that doing it by myself.” 

I don’t know why we were so surprised, but when two people are as different as most husbands and wives are, sometimes we start thinking that it is just easier if we do tasks by ourselves, reducing the need to communicate expectations or methods.  Not that spreading a mosquito net is that complicated, but I think this applies to other tasks in life too. We forget that even in the communicating how we will accomplish something, we build into each other's lives and feed our hearts in fellowship of working together.

 My prayer I bring from this mosquito net lesson is that I can look for and be open to ways we can serve our family together, and truly make the job easier. I pray that I can give Zach the joy of working alongside me with all of his creativity and fun when he IS home, forgetting myself, bringing joy to everyone...and making the job easier.  


These girls are certainly more effective is causing chaos with the two of them. Mission accomplished!  But they're so cute as they go about their work that we can't hold it against them. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Fat and Simple

 


Here’s the fat and simple truth: Culture learning is as simple as joyfully and graciously accepting the words, “You are fat!”  and “You are so simple.” What? Does that sound strange?  Well, after 14 years in Africa, those words still make my mind do a cultural calculation.

 

Step 1. You are “fat”  most likely means “You are pretty, you look healthy or you look good!” When told, “You are looking good,” it may mean, “You are fat!” In other words, it’s a compliment, and should be taken as such!

Step 2. Being “simple” means I’m uncomplicated, friendly, easy to get to know.

Step 3. You are fat + You are simple = You are blessed and a blessing

 

Culture learning is a bending of the mind, a receiving and rejoicing in the diversity of God’s world, and often laying aside my own culture to embrace another. The longer I live outside of my home culture, the more I realize how much I don't know and understand (I think that's true of life with God and people in general.)

That's the fat and simple truth of culture learning.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Thank You Power Company!

I wrote this when we first arrived...I'm getting used to things happening at a different pace. 


 

Dear ONIT*,

I know you, my local power company, have a new name, but the old one is still celebrated every time light returns.

I want to write to thank you, ONIT, for the welcome you gave us on our first night back. The house was peaceful, the children getting zipped safely into their mosquito tents when I momentarily left the room for a second twin.  At that moment, you decided that you'd been generous enough, and the world went black.  If we'd been outside, I'm sure we would have shot our heads toward the heavens and gazed at the wondrous starry host, but alas, we were inside, without a torchlight or candle in sight. (Since we couldn't see anything.)  

And in this moment, ONIT, you did us a great service.  You gave us the terrified shrieks of Lydia who I rushed to and scooped into my arms.  She has forgotten that these blackouts happen and that they only last a few minutes (at least in our compound because we have a generator). Our conversation that you initiated gave great insight as I held my little girl, and it went like this: 

"I can't see you!" 

"I'm right here." 

"But I can't see you!" 

"Lydia, can you feel me?" 

"Yes, but I can't see you!" 

"Am I here?" 

"Yes, but I can't see you!" 

"Mommy will not leave you in the dark.  I will hold you. I love you.  You are safe." 

"It's too dark!  I can't see you!"

My generally joyful, trusting Lydia was so afraid of this darkness you ensued. A darkness she had never experienced before, and which made her question my ability to protect her, to know what she needed. ONIT, you may not be able to appreciate this conversation with my beloved child fully, but it reminded me of myself and my Father God.  You see, I'm going through transition, and very little is in order or straightforward. I ask God to show me himself.  I want to look into his eyes and let his gaze reassure me, but sometimes he just wants me to let him hold me in the darkness.  I cry for him to be more real, when the reality of his presence has never changed. 

All this to say, I was thankful for this moment that the Father used to remind me of his character.  On the other hand, I've learned this lesson now, so no need to continue taking light in the future. 

Your dependent patron, 

Christy 

 

*Pseudonym

 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

What to pray for: Prayer (3 of 3)

I headed north on US-31 enjoying the Michigan countryside.  Suddenly, I realized for the first time in years, I had no schedule and no one expecting to see me.  I could do whatever I wanted.  I pulled off the road, and stopped under a bridge where I had been fishing once.  I stayed for hours, then left driving on back country roads to a lovely cottage by a lake where I spent the next three days doing whatever came to my mind at the moment.  There were no crises or challenges to overcome.  As planned, I just read, ran, kayaked, doodled, took pictures, ate and slept... and enjoyed doing it all alone with God.  It was incredibly freeing!

I have discovered that I am a habitual planner.  When first confronted with a challenge my immediate response is to analyze the problem and make a plan for how I will fix the problem.  This might seem good, but it isn't.  Instead of praying about things, I try to solve them my own way.  I get excited about my ideas and then feel bad when they don't work out.  If I were to sit and write down all my incomplete plans it would be immediately obvious that I want do a lot more than one person can actually do with the days I am given.  I guess I am somehow addicted to getting things done, trying to do a lot on my own.

So I want to learn a new habit, praying first.  Not waiting to get stuck before I start praying, but praying when I first encounter a new problem.  Can you join me in asking God for this habit?

(This is the third and final post on prayer requests arising from my Daddy Retreat.  Can you join me in thanking God for this beautiful time of rest and fellowship with him, and for specifically answering my prayer to show me what to pray?)





Monday, November 2, 2020

VISAS!

 We expect our Visa applications for Acacia and Olivia are now in the embassy in New York. 

Pray that they'll come in time for our departure at the end of this month!




Chosen Banquet

"Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.   God decided in advanc...