Wednesday, August 13, 2014

To Build a Friendship

6 years ago, in May, my family got an invitation to join a small church ensemble. Daniel and I were nervous, but we agreed to try it out. That first Tuesday, we exited the car and walked to the front door of the Keene NH Seventh-day Adventist Church. The first people we saw were the people that invited us, and they introduced us to another family, the Perrys. 

June 2012

Over time, the Perrys and the Warners became friends, and then became very, very good friends. We bonded over practices, performances, church functions and outreach. 
August 2012
And the Warners moved. And it was very sad. But now, whenever the Perrys and the Warners get together, we pick up right where we left off. 
Monday one week ago was such a time. We got to visit for an afternoon, walking around the Andrews campus, just enjoying each other’s company.
August 2014
And after they left, I wondered, what will it be like in Heaven? Are we so close to God now that when we see Him in person it will be like picking up where we left off? What is our friendship with Him like now, while we are here on Earth? And how does that bode for our friendship with Him in Heaven?

The only reason the Perrys and Warners are such good friends now is because we took time to develop our friendship before.
August 2014
 It’s the same with God. 
Our friendship with Him in the future is dependent on how we develop our friendship with Him now.

Friday, May 2, 2014

God's Most Perfect Gift

Since I've "come home", I've been doing a study on Proverbs 31. So far, I've just been reading the chapter, verse by verse, looking for the practical applications and principles. Today, I decided to go word by word. And it's AMAZING! So amazing, in fact, I wanted to share it with you (at least the first sentence, because that's as far as I've gotten). I looked at the Hebrew, and combining that with the principles I already know from previous studies, came up with this (not quite sure how to explain it, so I'm just going to let you read it).

-The words of Bathsheba to Solomon-
My son, I pray that God will make you into a man that He can trust to care for His most
prized possession. This gift He wants to bestow on you is His most powerful tool. It is a
force for Christlikeness to be reckoned with. It is valiant. It is mighty in the Lord. It strives
to be worthy of of it's high calling. It can do all the things I'm about to tell you
in the rest of this chapter. This, my son, is something you need to be putting effort into-
becoming a man worthy of God's most perfect present...
...a Godly wife.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Joy. Unspeakable.

- Start college at 17
- Finish college at 21 with a degree in education
- Work for 2 years
- Get married the December I turn 23
- Move to a farm in the Great Plains and be a full-time homemaker for my husband. Also help to take care of our chickens (because I love chickens), cows (because I’ve always wanted a cow or two), sheep (because sheep are cool), horses (because what is a farm without horses), and two or three dogs (and a cat).
- Raise 4 or five kids

That was my life plan, as of my 17th birthday. Needless to say, it hasn’t worked out that way. I started college at 22, working on generals since I’m not sure what I want to study. Unless God has a very, extraordinarily short courtship planned for me, there is no way I’m getting married this December. I still want to move to Iowa (just ask Daniel), but I’m torn between making my home in Iowa or a Hmong village in Laos. I still want to be a homemaking, homeschooling wife and mother, but that’s the only thing that I’m sure about from that list.

And, on Monday, April 21, I’m taking another step away from that plan. Monday, April 21, is my last day working away from home for the foreseeable future. I didn’t want to do this at first. I wanted to stay in school, maybe start a business, buy a car… So many things I wanted to do. Without consulting God, I wanted to keep working on my life plan. But I couldn’t finish school if I didn’t have a job (Daniel and I have paid for school once we graduated high schools). If I didn’t finish school, I couldn’t teach. And so the “ifs”, “can’ts” and “I wants” go on.

But I realized this week that it’s not about the “ifs”, “can’ts” and “I wants”. It’s about “what God wants”, and “possibilities” and “certainties”. And, after consulting with my parents and spending a great deal of time in prayer, I know God wants me to come home and really take homemaking seriously, even though I see no reason for it.

As I was typing this up, Mama read this quote: “ [God] does not give His children all the directions for their life journey at once, lest they should become confused. He tells them just as much as they can remember and perform.” (Desire of Ages, 313)

God doesn’t have to reveal everything about why He lead in this decision. In fact, He shouldn’t. This is a lesson in trusting that His way is perfect. And as I’ve come to rest in His plan, He has given me unspeakable joy, not in the action of coming home, but in the knowledge that this is His will. And that is what gives Him unspeakable joy.

(By the way, I'm not just quitting my job. I'm taking over all the housework, cooking, and mastering sewing, knitting, learning to crochet, and all those other housewifely things)

And here is a picture of a cow I took today. Just ‘cause I like cows.

Monday, March 31, 2014

To Stop or Not

“A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.”

I pulled out of the driveway, headed to my second day at my new job. It had snowed that night and the roads were slippery, so I left early. About 5 miles from home, I hit a patch of ice and lost control of the car. I don’t remember everything, but I remember spinning into oncoming traffic, going up an embankment, and hitting a guardrail before the car shuddered to a stop.

“And by chance there came down a certain priest that way:and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.”

I somehow managed to stop shaking enough to call Daddy. I somehow managed to calm down enough to put on my hazards. I somehow managed to notice a highway patrol truck pass by me.

“And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.”

I got out of the car after a long line of cars and trucks passed me. I stood outside, looking at the damage, and watched a tow truck pass by me.

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him…”

I felt alone, abandoned, and afraid. Daddy was coming, but until he got there, I was by myself with a car that was making funny noises. There was no Good Samaritan in this story. And it made me think, would I have stopped? If I had been on the other side of the road at 7:20 on Tuesday would I make sure the driver of the little brown car was ok? Would I call the accident in? How important is my neighbor to me?
Honestly, the answer right now is, “No”. I would not have stopped. I would have been more scared about my own safety than whoever was in that car. And I don’t know if I ever will stop. But I know that I’m asking God to give me a Samaritans heart, one that has compassion on other, and not only when they obviously need help, but when their cries aren't audible.

Also, always wear a seatbelt.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Longing for Jesus

I long to go back to Laos.

I long with all my being to go back to Laos.

Lord, help me to long for You more than I long for Laos.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

In Linguini We Trust

“We need to put more butter on my pasta.”
Mama looked at my three-year-old brother incredulously. “We already used two pats of butter. You don't need any more.”
“No,” Daniel insisted, “I need more butter.”
Mama sighed and added one more pat.
“Needs more.”
“That’s three pats of butter. If you have any more, you're setting yourself up for a heart attack at twenty. No more butter.”
Daniel missed the significance of watching his cholesterol intake. “It needs more butter.”
“No, you cannot have any more butter.”
Now it was Daniel’s turn to be incredulous. “More butter.”
“Why do you think you need more butter?”
“It needs more butter. I can't see any in there.”

* * * * * * * * * * *

Daniel learned to trust that the butter was actually in the pasta even though he couldn't see it. Unfortunately, this is a lesson I have yet to master. Not about butter on my pasta, but about God’s hand in my life. 

* * * * * * * * * * *

“I need more proof that You're guiding me.”
“My child, I've already shown you so much. Trust me. Trust that I will guide you as I've guided you in the past.”
“But, God, I can't see it. I can't see what You have shown me.”
“I have show you what you need to know. Your faith will not grow if you can see everything I do. You trust that butter will melt on your pasta. Can you trust that I will lead you as you need? This is about your soul, not your linguini. Trust Me.”

Friday, September 13, 2013

15 Things I Learned in Laos

1. Listen to your father.
Daddy: “I think you should be a teacher.”
Me: “I think I want to be a health educator.”
Daddy: “Ok.”
Me: Spend $500 dollars on a health educator course, decide I hate it.
6 months later...
Me: “I don’t know what to do with my life. I didn’t really like the health ed course. Now what should I do?”
Daddy: “I think you should be a teacher.”
Me: “I think I want to be a midwife.”
Daddy: “Ok.”
Me: Spend $250, decide I hate it.
A few months later...
Me: I’m going to be an English teacher in Laos.
Daddy: Ok
3 months after arriving in Laos...
Me: I LOVE being a teacher! I think this is what I want to do for the rest of my life!
Daddy: Yep.

2. You can't judge food by its appearance.
River weed is really good!

3. Kids are cute the world over.

4. Dressing up is a pain, but worth it. Heels are a pain and not worth it.
We went to a wedding, and the road was dirt, and the dirt was soft. 
My heels kept sinking in the ground. 
I was not very graceful.

5. Krataw (takraw in Thailand) is the awesomest sport on the planet.

6. Don’t believe signs in tourist areas.
This is what they said we would see.
This is what we actually saw.

7. Packages from America are huge blessings.
This cannot be emphasized enough. The highlight of our weeks was mail day, and it's terribly disappointing not to get anything. Even if it's just a postcard, send something to your friends overseas!

8. Write out lesson plans. Preferably before teaching.
Textbooks, red pen, computer, and tamarind.
All ready to lesson plan!

10. Never take hot showers for granted.
Or cool ones for that matter. Our downstairs shower thermostat broke, so the shower was either scalding or off.

11. Lao music is cool.

12. When living abroad, adopt a family.



Kinda like sisters/cousins




13. Hot is relative.

14. Hmong is the awesomest language on the planet!
When nyob zoo is pronounced nyah zhong, you know you have met a cool language. Move over Russian! Hmong is now my favorite language.

15. Go sightseeing.
I didn't go sightseeing until the last week I was in Laos. Mistake. Don't be afraid to be a tourist. Take the crazy pictures. Make memories. You won't regret it.