Sunday, June 29, 2008

Warning: This is a very long post :)

God is doing an amazing work in Southern California, and it is exciting to see His hand at work. Since I was young, I remember evangelist’s and missionaries stories of God’s mighty moving. I always marveled at the story of the Israelites and how God did such amazing miracles for them. I know God has been at work in my life and in my family’s life in the past, but it is inspiring to be awake enough to know God is working, while I am still in the middle of His outpouring. Another incredible thought is that God’s working does not necessarily mean that we get what we want. That is not God’s work. God’s will is not for us to always be cured, receive a huge blessing or see a loved one broken. His will sometimes is accomplished when we are disappointed.

Two weeks ago, Gary and I began looking for a home. We entered a program that assigned a realtor to us. That alone was the first blessing. She is an intelligent, hard-working realtor, and we are really thankful for her. She does not know it yet, but God is going to be using us to share the gospel with her in a short time. We were out looking for homes one Saturday morning. Nothing had peaked our interest, by any means. Gary wanted to drive by an area that he thought he had seen a couple houses for sale on the internet. We drove into the neighborhood and fell in love with it right away. We immediately saw two houses for sale---both were bank-owned and foreclosures. We walked into the first home and really liked it, but we also saw the MLS listing putting it at a price $100,000 above what we were looking for. We then walked two doors down and looked at the exact same layout in another house. As the day continued, we found nothing of particular interest, except the two houses that “we happened upon.” Later that day, the realtor sent us information regarding the area and the houses. The second home was not officially listed yet, but she was going to talk to the realtor and find out about the price. She e-mailed us later; it was the exact price that we were looking for! A week later, we went back to the home. I prayed on the way that God would give us a peace. We don’t want a house that He does not want us to have. I want the neighbors that He wants us to have; I want the investment that He has planned for us. We were ready to make an offer later that afternoon. We made an offer $20,000 below the asking price and we asked the bank to pay the closing costs. We both knew if God wanted us to have the house, He could accomplish anything.

In the meantime, we have been waiting a week to hear what God has for us, and He has been working in so many other ways. Gary has been teaching the college class for over a year now, and they just recently started meeting on Tuesday evening to appeal to a wider base of young adults. They meet at one of our church kids’ home, Jake, and they have been running from15-18 each Tuesday evening. Gary has really enjoyed the ministry that God has given him there. This past week, Gary asked for prayer requests and one young lady, Amber, timidly requested prayer for her grandfather. He had been diagnosed with cancer two months earlier. The family, particularly her grandmother, was really struggling with it. Amber’s family is not faithful in church attendance, and prayer was not one thing that had been really discussed in connection with her grandfather. Amber asked the group to pray for him, and they did. Two nights later, Amber called Jake and wanted to talk with him. They met at the Ventura Pier, where Jake learned that her grandfather was examined that morning, and the cancer was now gone. Praise the Lord! Whether it was a misdiagnosis to begin with or if God just wanted to show his power to Amber and her family, God is real! On their way off the pier, they ran into a homeless couple. Jake did not ignore them. He and Amber spent 1 ½ hours talking to the couple. The man was apparently drunk, but the wife was very open in discussion. Jake became burdened for the couple. He texted all the members of the Tuesday college group and asked for help for this couple. They raised enough money to put the two up in a hotel for a week. Amber brought them clothes and a pre-paid phone. When Jake delivered a card, signed by the group, the two broke into tears. Jake said, “There is one exception….you have to come to church with me, and I would like for you to come to our church’s program called “Celebrate Recovery.” The couple agreed. It was so exciting to meet them at church this evening. We have also invited them to our home for dinner one night this week. We are all actively pursuing leads to find them a job. Praise the Lord for young people who are sensitive to God’s leading.

Their have been many requests with families in our church lately. My heart has been especially broken for a young couple with two children, whom I work with in children’s ministry on Sunday night. Recently, the wife left the family. They are filing for divorce. I know she has been feeling overwhelmed with her family, work, and school. I know this is not God’s answer for this situation, but my heart is broken for her and her husband, and their two children. I have been praying for her, and after not seeing her in church for nearly four weeks, I was so delighted to see her pick up her children from church tonight. I walked over to her and hugged her. I held her for a long moment. I wanted her to know that I really did care; she began to cry. I know God needs to work in her life, and I just strongly encouraged her to be faithful to church. “I want to see you here,” I told her.

After talking with this mother, my kids and I walked down to the main auditorium. Gary was talking to one of his best friends, Joel. Our families are close, as are our children. I was talking for just a short while to Kim, Joel’s wife, when I learned that she had miscarried that past week. Their youngest is Brooke’s age and Brooke’s best friend. They were excited about having another baby. At just 11 weeks gestation, Kim had miscarried this precious little baby. My heart was saddened for her and Joel, but so encouraged to see her strength and her trust in God’s will. She testified that this was God’s baby, and that she rested in that fact.

I know this post is getting immensely long, but I find it hard to stop. When I woke up this morning, I was in great pain. I have been experiencing pains in my leg for about 4 months now. The doctors have done blood tests and an X-ray and both have come back negative. No apparent problem. I am scheduled to get a nerve test later this week. Most days are fine, but some days are just painful to move. When I got to church this morning, I talked to our family pastor’s wife, who was formerly a diabetic, before she had a pancreas transplant. My doctor mentioned “diabetic neuropathy.” I asked Denise if she had heard of it, and she said that she had previously had it. She described the disease, and it really frightened me. The symptoms, however, do not sound like mine. I was somewhat overwhelmed. Fear makes me wonder what it would be like to be in a wheelchair, or what if something happened to my life. I did, however, experience great peace, when I realized that God is in control of this situation, as well. Nothing in my life is outside of His hands.

So, you see, many questions remain unanswered at this point and time. We hope to hear about the house on Monday. We will see what the outcome is. My nerve test is on Tuesday. May God’s will be done in that area as well. With great thanks and great amazement, I look to the week ahead, knowing that whatever happens, my God is in control, and I must rest in that!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A day at the beach

I made a summer schedule for the kids, just to give them a planned activity each day. We may go to the library, or have a baking day, or a field trip...... Today, we went to the beach. We live so close, yet do not get to it that often. It was fun to play in the sand and watch Wesley swim in the water.

By the way, Gary and I did make an offer on a house this week. It is an amazing story of how God has been working. However, the story ends, I will be sure to share it once we get the details. Be praying that God's will is accomplished in this area.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Is it hot in your corner of the world????

The weather is one thing I love about where we live. Being on the coast, it is normally cooler; being in southern CA, it is normally warmer. Our weathermen have an easy job. Hot days may get up to 80 degrees and cold days may get down to 60 degrees. There is not much variance. This is why homes in our town (including our own) do not even have air conditioning.

Something strange has been going on this past week, however! It has been HOT. I mean sweaty hot......and more than just one day, almost the whole week. To make matters a bit more bearable, I took the kids to the Aquatic Center. It was cool and relaxing.........

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Six Flags Magic Mountain

To celebrate the completion of a successful year of school, we take the kids to an amusement park. This year we stayed closer to home and went to Six Flags Magic Mountain. The kids favorite place to spend most of their time is Bugs Bunny Town. Gary and Wesley did go off for awhile and ride some "big rides." In fact, we met some people from our church and they watched our kids for a short time, so that Gary and I could ride. Brooke rode her first roller coaster; in fact, she rode it about 15 times, and she loved it. It was fun to see her enjoy.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Fathers Day Anniversary

Today, June 15th, is Father's Day. Let me first say that I am so thankful in two regards: 1) to have such a great father myself and 2)to have three children who have their own great father. I just got off the phone with my dad and, after a 30 minute talk he said, "I think I am all talked out!" (He is not much for small talk.) I am thankful that I was the only daughter; being a "daddy's girl" is a very special position that I will never outgrow. I see Brooke that same way with her daddy.

Today was also our 12th anniversary. It was more work than it should have been to have Wesley take a picture of the two of us, but I did get it done!

When I was a young teen, many friends wrote lists of "things they were looking for in a husband." I never actually wrote such a list, but I did have a mental list. It is interesting to see how God had a much better and very different list. I wanted a guy who could sing beautifully and who was very sensitive. Gary is neither of these. (It didn't sound so gay back in the 1980's.) I did get tall, dark, and handsome, but more importantly God gave me patient and persevering! I love him like crazy; he can't sing, but I will keep him :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Official Hello to Summer

Today was the boys' last day of school. Let the summer begin! I was somewhat saddened driving them to school this morning; the year has just gone so fast. Next time I drop them off, they will be in second and fourth grade :0 They have had a week full of activities: Ventura Aquatic Center, Port Hueneme pier, ice cream social, carnival, and lots of cookies. The pictures above are Wesley with one of his best friends, Jordan, and Andrew with his friends Zion and Sten. It is somewhat interesting---Sten and Jordan are brothers. Wesley and Andrew are spending the night at their house tonight. We thank the Lord for a good Christian school and teachers who love our kids and love the Lord. (I don't know if Wesley's teacher above is happy or sad to see him go?????)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Do we really see them?

Brooke loves to listen to music and watch Christian music videos. Some of my favorite times are sitting in my glider with her and listening to music. Her and I just sing it out! This was a video that I came across, and the message just reached my heart. No matter what type of music you like, please watch the video. The message is very clear and one that I think we all need to adhere.

I know I "see" my students at the college and am burdened for them, but how many lost people pass me every day, and I just don't see them. It is easy to get busy watching the kids, viewing the scenery, gasping at the price of gasoline, or trying to figure out where you are going, but we miss the people that cross our paths every day. Hey, I am not getting "preachey" but I do think it is an important message----one that convicted me, and I just wanted to share.

Sometimes the video takes a long time to load. Be sure to let it all load before you start playing it :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A little 4-year old talk

Brooke has had some interesting things to say lately. I needed to post some of them so that they are not forgotten:

1. While sitting on the futon the other day, Brooke blurted out, “There are a lot of gods.” I knew there had to be some reason this statement poured forth from her mouth, so I asked, “Brooke, there is only one God, why did you say that there is a whole bunch???” She intelligently replied, “Mom (in her don’t you know better tone), God is everywhere and one God cannot be everywhere, so there must be a lot of gods.” It made sense to her. I explained that God can do anything, including being everywhere, but she is sticking with her story.

2. While we were out driving (destination forgotten), we passed Home Depot. Brooke said, “Home Depot. That is where daddy used to work.” That is a true statement, so neither of us said anything to contradict her. Her thought, however, was not done. “….until he got fired!” I had to laugh because it just struck me as funny. Gary was quick to explain that there is actually a difference between quitting and being fired!

3. Brooke went with me to drop the boys off at school this morning. She is always sad to see them go, so there are a lot of hugs and kisses given away. This morning, one of Wesley’s friends, Cody, was being dropped off at the same time, so he walked by our car and Brooke said, “Hi, Cody!” He called back, “Hello, Brooke!” After he passed, Brooke said, “He thinks I am cute.” Now, I believe she is cute and daddy tells her all the time that she is cute, but this is a little much. As we pulled out, she started telling me how cute she thought she was. I told her that other people can tell her she is cute, but she should not talk about herself like that. I told her to tell someone else something nice. She thought for a short moment and said, “Mom, you are cute.” Thanks, Brooke, I thought to myself, as I pulled out of school still in my pajamas J. Then she blew it all by adding, “You are a twin with me. We are both too cute!”