Tag Archives: blessing

Dear Someone, Thank You!

Lifelong Christians aren’t supposed to get frustrated, or discouraged, or wonder if they’ve made enough errors to be abandoned. Seeing miracles from time to time is supposed to shelter the faithful ones from all forms of doubt. Or, that’s what we tell ourselves…or perhaps tell each other.

Well, this lifelong Christian, called missionary, and observer of miracles has been having a rough go of it. Few know how discouraged I’ve been getting, how many times I’ve wondered if I’d have served better by staying in my former life. A six-figure life, complete with modest mortgage, two cats, and a fair bit of affirmation from coworkers, church leadership, and my beloved youth group. But I was under a call to another realm – the place of seeking deaf people and introducing them to Jesus. So I packed up my gear and headed north to focus on relearning American Sign Language (ASL).

The plan to become an interpreter for income fell through, leaving a lot of dust, doubt, and debt in its wake. I was at a point of nearly despairing, considering the need to return home and admit defeat. Then came a period of two weeks where I was placed in a home and assigned to a ministry. Not only was I not forgotten, not abandoned, but I was on track once again in a place of service to reach the most invisible and spiritually isolated people all over the world – deaf children. I’ve since moved steadily south to get closer to ministry headquarters, living in four different guest rooms so far.

I confidently agreed to accept whatever funding I could raise, counting on being a scheduled speaker at monthly missionary services. I looked forward to telling about my target group and receiving support to devote myself to the mission. A few of us discussed how a team of people would surround me to encourage, pray, and help me with building a network and a speaking schedule. That whole plan didn’t fall through — it crumbled, slowly and agonizingly… Memories of school fundraiser failures and dishonest televangelists mingled with impossible numeric goals and the already busy life rhythms of those I thought to lean on. It looks like I need to take on all aspects of fundraising, and I just don’t have it in me to treat people like walking wallets.

This is the burden that’s grown to unbearable proportions over the past several weeks. Reminding myself that God is faithful and His resources are unlimited doesn’t effectively counter the idea that I’ve failed too much to imagine continuing forward. It seems time to take on a second job for income, knowing that it will reduce the hours and energy I can give to this ministry. If I’m not in ministry, I’ve wasted the last eight years and the sacrifices of several loved ones. My standing prayer request at the moment is for clarity and against discouragement.

That brings us to the title statement: “Dear Someone, thank you.”

Two weeks ago I visited my friends up north. Not only was it a refreshing encouragement to be with my deaf friends, but they were willing to provide taxi service, lunch, and a love gift of $100 from “Someone.” I decided to put that toward a women’s retreat happening soon in the same area.

Yesterday, I noticed that a local pastor (and friend) intended to speak on John 14, and I could use a little “I’ve gone to prepare a place for you…” right about now. Still exploring church options near my new home, I chose to go there. The radio message was Dr. Paul Nyquist’s “Heirs with Christ,” on being adopted by God. I was warmly greeted by several people at the church and had some discussion with the Lord about perhaps serving with this body, then the pastor gave his message on the Fatherhood of God. His focus was verses 13-14, “ask in My name, and it will be done.” Then, being prompted, he asked the congregation if someone would give $20 to the visiting missionary. I was overwhelmed with more greetings, encouragement, a couple of contacts, a prayer, and a total of $386.

Afterward, I had a text from my friends up north. The cost of the women’s retreat is covered. Another unexpected blessing.

To all the Someones who have given of themselves to pray, encourage, affirm, and provide — especially recently — THANK YOU! I am overwhelmed.

A Child is Born

Within each human body, there is a person… You don’t need an advanced degree in biology, psychology, or philosophy to know that – but have you given it much thought?? Continue reading A Child is Born

President Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. Continue reading President Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

Engage!

It was a few months before my graduation, a little over a year ago now.  I had just finished another one of those Mother-Daughter conversations that daughters can recite with astounding accuracy  – it’s practically scripted.  Truth be told, it has been for generations, but some mothers & daughters get an early escape from it.  We didn’t.

“If you were married, I wouldn’t worry so much.” Continue reading Engage!

A Lesson in Grace

The budget wasn’t lining up.  Tapping into the last dregs of my savings accounts would drain them dry in a matter of months.  It would take only minutes, if I chose to clear off the credit cards, again.  Something needed to shake loose, and one hour before I made a drastic move, it did.  God had prepared a lodging arrangement for me, with a few personalized perks.

The trade, as I understood it from the coordinating party, was a bit of cleaning in place of traditional rent fees.  I was ready to roll up my sleeves and dive into the systematic extermination of dust-bunnies, to ‘pay my way’, so to speak.  Duster in hand, I began my quest, knowing there’s no way to repay their generous hospitality, but it’s only right to try.  This is a core principle my family, and my Bible, have taught me. 

During the few years since I moved to North Indiana and began relationships with my current group of people, they have endeavored to teach me another principle: Grace.

Now, grace is a word I used frequently back home – responsive grace that doesn’t react harshly when provoked.  I tried to teach it to those around me, with varying degrees of success.  But, there’s more…

Back to the cleaning… The lady of the house came into the room and announced her revised plan to go shopping with her daughter, then she noticed the duster in my hand. Reducing the next few minutes of dialogue and eye gaze, she essentially said that I share their home by grace, not contribution. The price of my shelter is simply to participate in the household, to come and go and share and rest and do, as it meets our schedules and priorities.

Of course I will still seek to contribute, but from the perspective of appreciation rather than a list of demanded chores. This, this is grace.

God provided Himself, the only solution to our impossible problem, and far too valuable for us to ever afford. We cannot earn the grace He has extended, though we sometimes wear ourselves and one another out in the effort. Instead, if we will stop & look into His eyes for a moment, we can rest from our list-making and bask in His provision. Strengthened by His unconditional love, we can show our appreciation by participating in His household, extending Grace to others.