Sunday, February 28, 2010

St. Maarten: Day 1

It's been a day and a night, and I'm still sane for the most part. The flight down was kind of fun, full of anticipation. I think I caught the excitement of everyone on the plane who was headed to a tropical paradise vacation rather than to a potential new home. But I quickly realized my trip was for a much different purpose once we left the airport. They were headed for luxurious resorts, while I have yet to see hardly any pretty sites since leaving the landing strip. For the most part, it's seemed poor, crowded, wild (that would be the roads) , and claustrophobic.

As I sit here in our tiny apartment (which is pretty clean and not so horrible - some of you know my standards are HIGH), listening to roosters and doves and lots of other animal noises I can't identify, it doesn't seem so bad. Last night, however, I had a different feeling about the place. I don't do well in new places when it comes to settling into our accommodations and going to bed. I don't know how to explain it. I'm very weird and quirky when it comes to changing my surroundings and not being at home. So, last night, the uneasiness and fear (not sure that's the right word) and just generally not feeling like myself at all settled in with me for the night. I'm hoping that the fresh morning will give me a new perspective as I try to approach today with an open mind.

We're heading to a local church today, then doing lunch and maybe a little more exploring. Then, tonight, we'll head to the Haitian church of a missionary here. I'm praying that as we meet the people, God's purpose and will will be obvious. I am being reminded by others that we're not called to a place, but to people. I certainly don't feel called to this place. Maybe the people will be the key to figuring this whole thing out.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane

It's really late, and we're still up! Why does this always happen? It doesn't matter how much I plan ahead or when I start packing, we always have tons of last minute stuff to do. I've been super busy and super blah, so I don't know that I'm in the best place spiritually for this trip, but I'm hoping to have time on the plane to focus and pray. By the way, we're going to St. Maarten to see if God wants us to do long-term ministry there.

I thought I might be freaking out at this point, but I'm just very even-keeled. I guess it's been coming for so long, I'm just tired of thinking about it and ready to do it. Our hope and prayer is that God will speak loudly and clearly to both of us as well as others who will be there with us. Hopefully, I won't freak out when we get there and become an emotional basketcase.

Everyone keeps asking, "Are you excited?" I'm not sure that's exactly the word I'd use to describe it, but we are full of anticipation. And I do have a secret hope that some of the trip might be just plain old fun. We'll see. I hope to update while we're gone for all five of you who might check in. Face it. You're worth it.

Well, I'll be leaving on a jet plane in less than 8 hours, so I guess I better get ready for a few very short and needed hours of sleep. See you in St. Maarten!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Yesterday, the unthinkable happened. My baby boy, affectionately known as Lukey or Lukey Pookie, turned two. That second birthday is always a hard one for this mommy because it has always marked the end of babyhood. While two is a wonderful and (most of the time) sweet age, it's always a sad moment when we kiss those fat baby cheeks and that sweet baby smell goodbye.

God did bless Luke with an extra-special birthday present...several inches of beautiful snow. And Daddy and Maddie got several extra hours at home to play and enjoy our baby boy on his special day.

At first it was all smiles. He was so excited to get his snow-gear on and head outside. He really is a happy little guy when he's free to explore and destroy without interruption or restraint. He's been a fun one to have around and is well-loved by the rest of us in our little family. We have shared a special bond as Mommy and baby, which shows when Daddy tries to hold, bathe, comfort, get the idea. A Mama's Boy he is, but that's okay with me.

His dimples are a unique and manipulative gift. I have to be sure to discipline when I know it's necessary rather than passing by the moment, easily forgiving and forgetting the offenses of one so cute and adorable. I think there have been a few times, though, that this little monkey boy could have gotten away with murder.

He certainly keeps me on my toes. His first act as a two-year-old was to completely dismantle they keyboard of his daddy's laptop. Most of his time is spent making messes, climbing, and exploring places he probably shouldn't be. He's also become a big fan of writing on furniture and various other surfaces a pencil or crayon should never touch. But there's nothing I love more than when he puts his little hands on each side of my head and leans in to give me a wet kiss on the lips. And it MUST be on the lips. He will settle for nothing less.

Luke does seem to have somewhat of a reputation for crying a lot. I can't imagine where that came from. Well, now that I think of it, maybe it's the last two years of screaming everytime he's dropped off in a nursery, or perhaps it's the many late nights he's spent up with my accountability girls, refusing to sleep when he could be partying.

All I know is he has me wrapped around his little finger. And he loves some Elmo. So, we had to celebrate this special occasion with none other than one furry, lovable, little red monster.

As I think back on all the precious (and quick) memories of these last two baby years, and as I enjoy these temper and talking-filled days, I look forward to the sweet years ahead.

And I thank the good Lord above for making me Lukey's mom. There's no one else's (aside from a talker named Jack and an artist named Maddie) mom I'd rather be.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Luke.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Back to Reality

I seriously need pics on here. It sure is boring looking at a whole page of words, but I didn't take my camera this weekend. Where did I go? A beautiful, family-built (just not my family) cabin in the mountains of southern North Carolina. My Bible study group went on a retreat to this fabulous, relaxing place which belongs to the parents of one of our Bible study friends. After a week of sick children, I really needed some refreshment. And, boy, did I get it.

There was the perfect mixture of spiritual stuff and just relaxing fun stuff. I'm not super close friends with many of the ladies who went, so it was wonderful getting to know them better. When I'm with this group, I am inspired to follow Christ more closely while being in awe of His presence in these ladies' lives. I am certainly not worthy to be a member of this group, but I'm so thankful God decided to put me here anyway.

During the time we spent focused solely on God, we read about Jesus' first miracle, turning water into wine. I was reminded of the beautiful revelations about God in that story. Mary, Jesus' mother, had such a straightforward faith in her son. "Just do what He says. He'll take care of everything." Then Jesus provides so lavishly. He gives the party-goers more than enough wine for their special occasion, and He doesn't use the cheap stuff. Only the best for Jesus - and those near Him.

I've always wondered about this miracle. Most of the miracles that Jesus performed were to help someone in dire physical and/or spiritual need, but this one seemed a little pointless. Okay, He can turn water into wine. But was that really important? Of course, to the ones hosting the wedding, it seemed important at the time, but it almost seems a little frivilous to me at first glance. When I ponder it, though, it is such a great picture of God's love for us and His provision for us in our lives.

I personally am not in great need of wine, but I do have needs. So many times, though, when I take my needs or worries or concerns to the Lord, I don't expect Him to meet those needs in an abundant way. In fact, I sometimes view Him as One who just witholds good things from me so that in my need and suffering He'll be glorified somehow. I think I'm just looking at the wrong things, though. He may not provide what I think I need in the abundant way I'm asking for it, but He is oftentimes providing in a more extravagant way than I could ever imagine. I'm just so busy looking at what I think I need from Him that I miss what He is wanting to provide.

As all good lessons do, this one included a visual. (By the way, this whole little study revolved around chocolate. Amazing, I know. Obviously, a woman came up with this.) We all took one Hershey's Kiss, unwrapped it, and set it in the palm of our hand. Sounds nice so far, right? Then we were told to close our hand around it and just sit there for a few minutes. Suddenly, we all went from delight at the chocolate in our hand to dread of the gooey mess that was to come. I personally HATE to have sticky, dirty hands so I REALLY didn't like this at all.

You've probably guessed, but we then looked at how this is a picture of the way we hold onto things in our lives until all we have left is a useless, disgusting mess that looks a lot like poo. And those things we hold onto can be good chocolate. I spend most of my life holding onto both my problems and my blessings so tightly that I totally miss the unimaginable, extravagant blessings God is wanting to pour into my life. My fists are tightly closed, unable to receive anything else - or anything better - from God.

Basically, if I would let go of my Hershey's, God might see fit to give me Godiva. And really, who goes back to Hershey's after the smooth, rich goodness of fancy Godiva chocolate? Still, I struggle to believe that 1) God will give me Godiva and 2) it will really be better than Hershey's. It all seems so simple while sitting in a cozy cabin, nestled in the beautiful mountains, surrounded by sweet, godly women. But spend 24 hours back at home, staring a trip to a tiny island in the face, and things seem hard again. My fists want to tighten, but I must focus on the truth.

Psalm 34: 8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
9 Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing.

I'm struggling to experience God's goodness and sweetness, to trust that what He has is good and that He will reveal it to me and to my husband as well. I'm trying to believe that those who fear Him lack nothing, because I feel that my future is going to be lacking, whatever direction He leads us in. Emotions and feelings are so powerful, but I seek to override them with truth. I'm trying to let go of my second-rate chocolate and trust that, in time, it will indeed be replaced with the good stuff. Easier said than done.