Seasons in Missions

11783917_10153321727545589_50429033_oI have mentioned that I am a missionary.  Together, our family serves on the mission field.  I have learned that there are seasons in missions just like anything else.

When I was newly married it was Spring.  I was just getting started as a full-time missionary.  I was full of energy and excitement to start new things.  I was willing to do any activity that was needed.  I had only been living in Mexico for two weeks and I found myself working with groups that came from the United States and Norway.  Four weeks straight of long hours in very hot and humid weather and I loved what I was doing.  I loved it because I knew I had made it to the place God wanted me to be.  That is a wonderful place.  I was with the husband God gave me and we were working together in our calling as missionaries.  We were in full bloom just like flowers in Spring.

Summer was right around the corner.  We found our routine in ministry.  We were learning alot and becoming pretty good at what we were doing.  It didn’t take long in Mexico to be able to share a quick testimony on the street without much thought.  Setting up a speaker on a street corner for a drama was second nature and learning a fun kids song in my second language was my new norm.  It seemed like I had it all figured out.  I thought it would be like this forever.11782509_10153377576035465_6886709845642063920_o

Then I started to feel tired.  The season of Fall had begun.  I was really homesick and I was having a hard time adjusting to the culture. I was getting tired.  Looking back I can see it wasn’t a bad season, it was actually quite beautiful.  In my tiredness, I realized that I can’t do missions alone.  In missions you will get tired and you must rely on God to give you strength.  I learned to depend on Him.  Just as the leaves fall off the trees to make way for new growth in the Spring, realizing my dependence on God made way for new growth and greater things in the future of ministry and my family.  Not because of what I could do in my own strength but because of what I allow God to do through me with HIS strength.

Winter was and is a tough season.  I found myself in Winter because of some changes in the ministry and my personal life.  Some structural changes were happening in the ministry and it was feeli1383424_627935193896560_71516180_nng like the enemy just had a victory.   My dad was sent to the hospital because he was cutting something and the knife slipped and hit a major artery in his arm and I couldn’t see him or visit him because he lives two or three airplane rides away.  As a couple newly married and new to the mission field we were having a hard time fundraising and were wondering where God the Provider was when we were following His calling.  This is the season of doubts.  Every person in missions and ministry goes through Winter.  Winter is the season when you pull out the promises that God has shown you in the past.  It is the season when you need to find a way to survive and push through until things begin to thaw.  Spring will come again and you will be stronger for it.  You will be stronger in your faith because you saw how God brought you out of Winter into Spring.10440168_10152993706295465_8254143686063624835_n

My husaband and I were stronger in our faith because we saw how God took care of the ministry despite the many changes that were happening.  We were stronger in our faith because we saw how God took care of my dad and he came out fine after many stitches.  We were stronger in our faith because we saw how God provided again and again in unexpected ways.

Every time we cycle through these seasons we come out ready to take on larger challenges that need more faith.  When we started in full-time missions we trusted God to take care of us as individuals and as a married couple.  Now we are learning how to trust God to take care of us as a family of four!  God is always faithful.

 

 

 

The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling: Is it worth it?

A friend of mine who is a homeschool mom, shared this article with me.  If you are like me you have questions for your friends who homeschool.  This is a good article to give you a glimpse into their lives.  Take a look!

Vanita

Considering homeschooling? The pros and cons of homeschooling from a homeschooled kid, homeschool mom and homeschool dad’s perspective!

Source: The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling: Is it worth it?

Modern Day Super Heroes

Today, is Memorial Day here in the United States.  A day that is meant to remember those who have served and given their lives to keep our country safe. I AM THANKFUL FOR THEIR SACRIFICE.


Today, I want to expand on this idea.  I would like to also remember those who served and gave their lives for their family, their home and their country around the world.

Today, I want to remember those who served and gave their lives but it wasn’t recognized as a soldiers death.  It wasn’t recognized as the sacrifice it was.

Today, I want to recognize those who live in countries that are torn apart by war and they have sacrificed to do their part to bring peace to their countries but there is no official day to recognize their sacrifice.

Today,  I want to say, “THANK YOU, GRACIAS, MERCI, OBRIGADA…”  to everyone who has sacrificed for something bigger than themselves. 

The Many Hats of a Woman

Last spring my husband and I went to Rome, Italy.  We were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary.  It was a beautiful time for us.

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I found this picture of me and it made me think about hats.  Have you ever heard anyone say that women wear a lot of hats?  These are not Downton Abbey hats,  but they are the different roles that one woman has in life.  It’s the idea that in one day a woman wears many “hats” as she goes from wife to mom to CEO to cook to chauffeur etc.

I was thinking about how God made women to be multi-taskers and He knew this would help organize our hats! 🙂

We have nights where we are making phone calls, cooking something from Betty Crocker (which includes cleaning the kitchen), helping our kids with the new way of adding 3 digit numbers which we pretend to understand all while we help our husband find another misplaced item.  Sigh!  We should wear capes every day because we are AMAZING!

But, when we finally have a moment to rest and think about life we feel overwhelmed and torn between which hat is the most important.  Which hat should I prioritize?  Which hat is getting dusty just hanging out on the shelf?  Which hat does God want me to wear?

In a moment of sanity, I realized that we go through different seasons in life.  In each season the hat that needs to be worn the most will change.  We need to embrace the hat and work the runway.  That’s right ladies, we need to enjoy each hat instead of being jealous of the other hats our friends are wearing.  Or what about the hats that only the public sees, and we think that is the same hat that matches their life at home.  Reality is that at home they are in yoga pants and a comfy baseball cap.  

For me, I have been noticing women who are in the public eye more and more.  I’m not talking Hillary Clinton.  I’m saying Christian women who are musicians, public speakers and authors.  I had one of those “WOW!” moments when I went to look at one of their blogs.  I was trying to find things that I could apply to my own blog.  What does it look like?  What do they tag?  What are their headlines?

This is what I read on Angie Smith‘s blog under booking….

Due to the season of life I am in and the priorities I am constantly wrestling to keep intact, I have decided to drastically reduce the amount of time I’m away from my family. With that said, I’m still very prayerful and will certainly assess each event to see if it’s a good fit, but my desire is to do very, very few travel dates. While I’ve loved the past few years partnering with amazing teams like Women of Faith, I’ve realized that it is simply too difficult to balance that kind of travel schedule with everything that is required of me as a wife, mommy, and writer.

Even famous writers and speakers have a hard time juggling their hats and knowing how to prioritize family, life and ministry!  

I am not alone in this struggle and  you aren’t either!

Let’s support each other with words of encouragement.  How have you felt alone in this struggle or what has helped you organize your hats?

Is That Really You God

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Many times it is hard to know if God is speaking to me or if I’m just going off of my feelings.  It has been a journey for me to recognize if God is speaking to me.

I grew up in a traditional church where you never heard things like, “Let’s pray to see what God tells us to do.”  Or this is another one I heard even less, “Let’s pray for Joe and share the words from the Lord with him”.  Don’t get me wrong, the people in my church prayed and believed God would give people guidance it just wasn’t done that way.

When I got to a different phase in life and actually needed to make some big decisions, I tried to ask God.  I wanted to follow His will.  I wanted to “hear” a response from Him.  I didn’t expect it to actually be an audible voice telling me what to do, but it just never seemed like a got an answer.

Years later, it occurred to me that God was speaking to me but I didn’t recognize His voice.  I hadn’t learned how to recognize when He was speaking to my soul.

I was alot like like Gideon in the book of Judges in the Bible.  God was speaking to me and I was willing to listen.  The problem was I didn’t know it was Him.

In Judges 6,  you can read the story of how Gideon went back and forth “testing” God.  The angel of the LORD sat down next to Gideon and he still wasn’t sure it was God.  Something I noticed in this story is that Gideon doesn’t just sit back and say, “I’m not sure so I just won’t do anything”.  He took action.  He did something to find out if it was really God.

Many times we hear that doubting God isn’t okay.  We need to walk by faith.  Yes, this is true.  What happens when we don’t know it’s God in the first place.  If we wrestle with this idea, we see in Gideon’s example that God was patient with him.  He continued to communicate back and forth with Gideon until…

“Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he exclaimed, Ah, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!”

I believe God speaks to all of us differently.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple formula to find out how He speaks to each of us.  In my personal experience, we just need to be like Gideon-willing to follow God!

If we are unsure if it is him, test it!  Give someone a word of encouragement that you think might be possibly from God and depending on their reaction you will see if it encouraged them.  Slowly you will become more bold and more familiar with how God normally speaks to you.

I tend to get all sweaty and I can’t stop thinking about what God is placing on my heart.  If I speak up I feel at peace!

Becoming more familiar with God’s voice is worth the effort so we can recognize it’s Him on the other end of our calling!

It would be so fun to hear how God has spoken to you or where you are on this journey!  

-Vanita

Leather Purses

A good friend of mine posted this on her blog!  I love the way God speaks to us through every day items like a purse!  Read what she has to say.

At age 24 I look back at the last 10 years of my life and realize how much I have experienced and the knowledge and wisdom I have gained. I feel a deep sense of gratitude for my experiences and those who walked through them with me. Many small and large moments have shaped who […]

via Womanhood and a Leather Purse — From The Inside Out