Tuesday, May 26, 2015

All the Poor and Powerless

Tonight was a worship night for all of us volunteering at Beautiful Gate. Those are some of our best nights where we can sit at the feet of Jesus and think about Him. We can draw closer to God and really search ourselves. Lately, I have been very reflective in my spirit and feeling a bit down as there have been many trials within our family as well as within our ministry. The song, "All the Poor and Powerless" by All Sons and Daughters really spoke to me tonight. Here are the lyrics.



All the poor and powerless
And all the lost and lonely
All the thieves will come confess
And know that You are holy
And know that You are holy


And all will sing out
Hallelujah
And we will cry out
Hallelujah


All the hearts who are content
And all who feel unworthy
And all who hurt with nothing left
Will know that You are holy


And all will sing out
Hallelujah
And we will cry out
Hallelujah


Shout it
Go on scream it from the mountains
Go on and tell it to the masses
That He is God
We will sing out
Hallelujah
And we will cry out
Hallelujah 


The part about all who feel unworthy and who hurt with nothing left is what really hit me tonight. Then to sing SHOUT IT and SCREAM it and TELL it that HE IS GOD, what a powerful reminder that we are not alone. When we are walking through the shadow of death, we need to shout and scream that He is God. When we are persecuted for things we did not even do, we need to cry out that He is God. When we feel unworthy and the waiting feels like an eternity, we need to tell the masses that He is God.


Right now I really feel like climbing a mountain and actually screaming that HE IS GOD in hopes that it will heal the brokenness that feels like is overwhelming my soul. So much pain around me in Lesotho, so much pain that my position here at BG causes at times, so much pain from living so separately from what used to be normal, and so much more. I am but a broken pot in need of my Potter's hands to reshape me and make me even better, but it really hurts to have to be broken. I am so glad that He is God, and He cares deeply for the poor and powerless, even on days when we are too worn to carry on His good works. I choose to sing Hallelujah, knowing that He is God and I am so thankful for music as it is a balm to our souls!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Harsh Realities

Where are they? Are they warm and sleeping in bed or have they been abandoned? Will they ever know the love of their mother or will the rest of their life be spent being a pawn in her hand?

There is a mother who came to BG for help a few weeks ago and our social worker, other staff and volunteers had compassion on her. A mother with a new child who did not have the resources needed and who the government told to come back in for counseling before they would help. She was given formula by our staff and when they went back to give her bottles and diapers, she had disappeared.

She showed up last Thursday with another sob story, but it was filled with lies and not trustworthy. A staff member and volunteer drove her to the Ministry of Social Development where the lady was yelled at and confronted for her chronic poor parenting and lies. The woman had 2 children with her this time and has been known to "play the system." The worse part is that she says she will abandon her children whenever she is told that she cannot have her way, and it really pulls at our heart strings when the children are the ones who suffer from her poor choices.

It really is horrible that we cannot just take the kids so we know that they are safe, but we need to follow what the Ministry thinks is best. We have to pray that her threats are empty threats and that God will hold those little children safely in the palm of His hand. Even though we know God sees the kids and their plight, it does not help us all sleep better at night as we wonder. I even had a staff member tell me she is losing slept as she wonders about the kids and triggers her own past hurts.

This job is draining both emotionally and physically for our staff and volunteers. So many unanswered questions running through minds. So many times we have to sit by and watch helplessly in situations where we do not have the freedom to act. Trying to be thankful for the kids we have saved and not to think of the hundreds who go unsaved. Trying to be thankful for the warm heaters that we have for the BG kids and not worrying about the kids who will literally freeze to death tonight. Trying to be truly thankful for the full bellies we have and knowing there are kids who are dying right now because theirs has been empty for days. This is just one small example of the harsh realities that we face in a day. We may never know...

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Lotus Flower

I have something pretty deep that has been playing through my mind for over a week, but I have been afraid to put words to it. I feel convicted about a trend I see in America and it breaks my heart. It is a long explanation, but if you are up for it then please continue reading...


In an attempt to stay relevant and up to date with my kids' interests, I have been reading some of the books they love. One of the most recent ones is the Percy Jackson series. In the first book, the main characters are on a quest and they need to get to a certain place by a certain day. As the days are getting closer to the deadline, they wind up in a casino in Las Vegas. The workers at the casino give everyone in the casino lotus flowers to eat, and these flowers cause people to forget their purpose. They dull the mind to what is really important and then the characters were free to enjoy life with no worries in the casino. Obviously there is a lot more to the story, but this is the part that I keep mulling over in my mind.


Life in America is a lotus flower, the same may be true in other countries, but I can only speak of the culture I know. We are distracted by hours upon hours of TV, video games, and social media. Kids are enrolled in a high number of activities and parents are running around endlessly to keep up their busy schedules. Are these things really worth all the time and attention we give them? Is our kid really benefitting from the endless activities? Are we really making a difference in God's kingdom with what we choose to do with our time? Some of us are being blinded to our mission by the constant and never ending entertainment at our finger tips. We get too busy with these things that the work God has laid out before us goes forgotten or put on the back burner. How do we stop?


In James (James 1:22) it says to be doers of the word and not hearers only. Being a doer of the word means serving others and being in a meaningful relationship with those around us. It means choosing to put aside meaningless entertainment for the betterment of God's kingdom and His people. As an American, this does not come easily to me nor does it feel natural. There are many times I still miss my opportunities, but I do not want to have my senses dulled by meaningless things. I want to stay on my mission without distractions because when I am on my mission, I am the happiest I have ever been in my life. I live with purpose and with a greater capacity to love because I am reaching out to my neighbors.


So many people have come and gone from Beautiful Gate and have said they never want to forget what they have experienced. Many have remembered and come back or made some big changes in their lives, but for many others months later, life has taken over and their love for Beautiful Gate is forgotten. I remember being afraid of that very thing when I went home from my mission trip and I prayed that God would burn my memories into my head for the rest of my life so I would be changed (He did a little more than just that though which is why I now live in Lesotho, God knew I needed immersion for a few years for that prayer to be answered). Satan's number one defeat for us is distraction so we do not listen to God and choose the better path which He has chosen for us. I encourage you, as well as myself, to stop eating the lotus flowers being offered by satan and offered by our culture. May we all find a meaningful way that we can live and serve Him because life is short and we will need to make an account for our choices. God bless you all as you journey this life He has graciously allowed us to live!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Motherhood

I am so thankful for the family that God has allowed me to be a part of. I do not deserve them, I am not worthy of their unconditional love, yet God has allowed us to be together anyway! I am reminded of the days before I became a mother and my friend, Meredith, said that being a mother is a huge blessing. Children should not be considered a burden because they are a blessing from God. Thank you Meredith for giving me the right perspective. I have never forgotten your words and when I am tempted to complain or be discouraged, I am reminded that God is trusting me with His children. He has given me a chance to disciple and prune 3 of His beautiful children. I want to live my life with this attitude of gratefulness because I know that life is not always what we expect or what we plan for and it is not always as long as we expect either so we should live, laugh, and love freely while we have the time!





And because anyone who knows the 5 of us knows we cannot be serious all the time....


I am madly in love with my crazy family :)

PS> Thanks for taking our pics Christina Terpstra, you are amazing and patient.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Joy

I am attending a bible study with a few other missionaries and we are studying the topic of joy. It has made me do a lot of thinking about what is joy and do I have evidence of joy in my daily life......


As a child, I always tried to be the clown in my family in order to diffuse tense situations and I loved to make people laugh. I never could go more than a minute mad at someone because my smile came very easily. I did not have an easy time all the time as I grew up, but I was always smiling and people would describe me as joyful.


When my sister died, she took my joy with her. I lost my easy going and happy attitude and became more introspective. I realized that God was not as safe as I had once thought He was and that bad and hard things could really happen. I lived 3 years in a state of joylessness (poor Bryan had to deal with me during this time) and felt very empty, but I knew I needed help and decided to seek counseling in order to find some joy again. After a few months, my smile came back. I could face what was coming and what had been with a smile on my face.


When I moved to Lesotho and faced the reality of life for people living in a 3rd world country, my joy began to slip. Life is hard, children die, people have conflicts and how do we live each day in such a reality. I am learning that joy is not just the happy feeling it once was to me. I have not lost my joy, it just looks different that I thought it would. I find joy each day in the faces around me; my family, my friends, my amazing co-workers who love me even though I look different and am terrible with their language and the 60-70 kids I see each day. Joy is not just a happy feeling, joy is knowing that "all is well with my soul." I am content that I am right where I am suppose to be, and I am doing what the Lord wants me to be doing and that brings me joy. I am happy with what I have and do not feel like I want or need more, I am content and have peace with that part of my life too.


I have joy in knowing that God is in control of everything so I do not need to live each day worried or anxious. I can be free to do my best knowing that my heavenly Father will pick up the pieces that I miss. When bad and sad and hard things happen, I will shout and I will cry, but I do not live without knowing "all is well with my soul." I find great joy in the Lord and my prayer is that I will live in such a way that I can share His joy with everyone I meet. It never hurts to show His joy with a smile on my face so I will try to keep that going too :)


May you find joy in your life wherever you may be. If it is in the long and drawn out days of waiting for a child, God knows and His timing is right for you and you future child. If you are going through a time of mourning, there is hope that you will find joy again through the happy memories. If it is praying for a lost soul, we pray with hope for the ones we love and we can live in joy of knowing that God does not want anyone to perish.


John 15:11 "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be complete." words of Jesus