God’s Love Language

I was making scrambled eggs for 40 people when I realized God must have 5 love languages.

I have the tendency to be an internal processer, which means I’m constantly wrestling with ideas when I’m doing things like washing dishes and cleaning. This time God spoke to me through scrambled eggs.  

I suddenly undertood that if God has designed each human being to be a respresentation of Him, and he designed us to receive and give love through 5 languages (see The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman), then GOD MUST RECEIVE AND GIVE LOVE IN A SIMILAR WAY!  After this realization, I believe that this idea of love languages can be a huge breakthrough for my faith.  This is something I understood personally, maybe it won’t make sense to anyone else but it works for me. ūüôā

In my life, I have gone through stages where I don’t “feel” connected to God.  Maybe I’m going through a tough season and he feels distant.  Maybe things are going great and I have forgotten about God in the midst of worldly success.  I now understand that in the same way I need to intentionally speak my husband’s love language in order for him to feel loved, I need to be intentional in showing God Iove Him!  It may not happen automatically.  This is what this may look like in my life…..

Acts of Service: Serving others for God’s glory is a channel for me to express my love to God and to receive His love for me.

Words of Affirmation:  Reading God’s word and prayer to find out what He says about who I am and then responding to Him is another channel for me to express my love to God and to receive His love for me.  This is why worship is a great way to connect with God.

Gifts: Being generous with what God has given me to bless others is a great way to express my love to God.  Allowing Him to provide for others through my life is a way to love Him and recognizing that He proprovided for me because He loves me.

Quality Time: I spend quality time with God while in prayer, by reading my Bible, going to church-doing anything where I’m engaged with Him.

Physical Touch: I have had moments in my life where I was in desperate need of a hug or a pat on the back.  And suddenly the person I least expected to notice, came up to me and gave me a hug.  I have also been on the other side when I felt I needed to embrace someone, which I don’t do very often, and afterwards they have told me that they really needed it.
When I share God’s love with others, no matter which form it takes, I am showing love to God as well. 

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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.

 

 

 

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

The Power of Words

In February, my hubby and I sat down on the couch to watch the movie “He Named Me Malala.”¬† My husband began to explain to me the basic plot of the movie and he was left in shock as he quickly realized I had never heard of the young girl named Malala.

That night was the first time I learned who Malala is and what she had done to change the world.  Malala is a young Muslim girl who stood up to the Taliban-fighting them with just her words.  Her words were those of empowerment as she gave a voice to young girls who were being denied an education.

Malala was only 15 when a gunman shot her in the face while she was on the school bus. At 15 years old her voice became infamous and known around the world.

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After watching the movie, I decided to read her book. I Am Malala is a motivational story for anyone who believes they are too young or too weak for anyone to hear their voice. Malala is the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

I also loved Malala’s story because it was a window into a world that is different than mine. She is from a different culture and religion so her eyes see things in a different light than mine do.

Looking through her eyes gave me a person and a name to be the face of Islam. I consider it a great privilege to be one step closer to understanding a religion that is not my own.

This is a privilege because it helps me be more compassionate and respectful of other people. I may not agree with all of Islam’s beliefs, but I can still be respectful.

JESUS CHRIST LOVED AND REPECTED THOSE WHO WERE DIFFERENT THAN HIM AND IT IS MY GOAL TO DO THE SAME.

She Spoke Up To Make Change

international women's day¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Just the other day, my husband and I sat down on the couch and watched the movie “He Named Me Malala”. ¬†Malala is a young girl who spoke up against extremists. ¬†They were saying that young girls shouldn’t be allowed to go to school. ¬†As the daughter of a school teacher, she knew that being educated had changed her life and she wanted the same for girls around the world. ¬†Eventually, the extremists in her country shot her because of her message of hope. ¬†What the extremists didn’t know is that as a survivor of their attack, her voice has been strengthened and her message is spreading around the globe.

All she needed was her voice. ¬†She didn’t need violence. ¬†She didn’t need to block traffic. ¬†She didn’t need to make a scene. ¬†She found the courage to use her voice in a place where girls were taught to be quiet. ¬†

Malala is a living example of what International Women’s Day is all about. ¬†It is not about being the stronger, better gender. ¬†It is about giving someone a voice who still hasn’t found their own. ¬†Because of Malala’s bravery and courage many girls and women around the world can now say, “One Day I Will!”

Click here to read more about Malala and how she is changing the world.

Paris at Our Dinner Table

In 2011, my husband and I were blessed to be able to go to Europe for two weeks!  We began our journey in France, then to Belguim, Holland and then returned to France.  Our final few days of our trip were spent in Paris.  What a beautiful city!  The Arc de Triomphe, la Tour Eiffel and the chocolate croissants- YUM!

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This weekend our family was talking about Paris once again.  Not because it won some invisible competition for the worse thing that happened around the world, but because my parents flew into Paris Friday morning!

Yes, my parents who are in their sixties and were excited to go to Europe for the first time.  Yes, my parents who were looking forward to getting a break from some of the stress back home.  Yes, my parents who needed a romantic week to themselves which was long over do.

I was confident that my parents were fine, knowing that they were staying outside of the city and would have cleared the city by the time the violence broke out.  The difficult part for me was that something that happened on the other side of the world was now that much closer to our family.  We could no longer claim that we were safe here in the United States.  We were reminded that we live in a small world where even things on the other side of the world affect us.

The biggest challenge I faced was talking to my kids.  As people called to make sure I had heard from my parents, my kids were overhearing the conversations.  When I realized my kids heard me talking about their Grandma and Grandpa I decided to talk to them about what happened in Paris.

How do you explain to a 7 and 3 year old that there are bad people in the world that want to hurt others, with out scaring them too much?!? ¬†I remember the look on their faces as their young innocence struggled to understand what I was saying. ¬†Finally, I came to the point of saying, “We don’t have to be afraid because we know someone who is stronger and bigger than the bad people in the world.” ¬†My boys responded, “Yes! God is the strongest person in the whole world!” ¬†I replied, “Yes and He was protecting your Grandma and Grandpa.”

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My 3 year old looked at me with a puzzled look on his handsome little face,

“Mommy, What about the other people that died?!?”

My heart broke.  These are the questions that are not just difficult for 3 year old boys, but for grown ups too.

I am sure that the violence that happens around the world is not part of God’s plan! ¬†But I am also sure that God can use even horrible things to bring people to His LOVE! ¬†This is what I want my children to put their faith in!

How do you talk to your children about these tough issues?  Comment below if you are willing to share your pointers.  Thanks!

 

 

 

God Isn’t Afraid of My Questions

 

If God isn’t afraid of my questions, my doubts or my frustrations, why is it that I hesitate so long in going to Him for the answers, peace and patience that I need on a regular basis?!? ¬†Maybe this is one more area where I need to be like a child in my faith.

One of the things I have a love-hate relationship with is my kids’ questions. ¬†I love the fact that they see the world with so much curiosity and they haven’t yet learned that they should be embarrassed because they don’t know everything. ¬†I love that they haven’t learned that the world tells us that asking questions is a sign of weakness. ¬†I love that they are just so thirsty for knowledge and understanding that it seems they can ask hundreds of questions in one day -which leads to why I hate their questions.

As a parent I feel tired after a long day and I sometimes lose my patience to explain and give answers to their hundreds of questions.  I also feel fear because I may not have an answer for them. Really! How do I explain to my three year old why there are stars in the sky?  There are also times where I want to shelter them from the truth and knowledge that comes with some of their questions.

In my faith, I have an idea about my Heavenly Father that I haven’t really processed or even realized I have in my heart. ¬†I know it must be true because of my hesitation to go to Him for all I need. ¬†I believe that He will react the same way to my questions, and doubts like I do to my kids. ¬†I believe He will be too tired to answer all my questions after a long day. ¬†I believe He may not have answers to my questions. ¬†Of course my head knows these are crazy beliefs because my head knows that my Heavenly Father doesn’t get tired from answering my questions and He is never too tired to spend time with me. ¬†My head also knows that He knows the answers to ALL of my questions. ¬†SO WHY DO I STILL HESITATE TO GO TO HIM? ¬†The knowledge I have in my head, sometimes has a hard time travelling to my heart!

I must take the risk and go to Him and EXPERIENCE his love for me, even in my doubts and frustrations. I must accept His love just like the little children.  I am reminded of a common passage in the Bible where the adults are concerned that the children are bothering Jesus.  Jesus tells the adults to leave the children alone.  They were responding the correct way and the parents should follow suit.  It is the same for us today.  We need to go to Him fearlessly knowing that He wants to take care of our questions, doubts and frustrations.

Luke 18:15-17 [Full Chapter]

[ Jesus Blesses the Children ] One day some parents brought their littlechildren to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him. Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, ‚ÄúLet the children come to me. Don‚Äôt stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like thesechildren. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn‚Äôt receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.‚ÄĚ