Tag Archives: thanks

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.

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!

Doug – God’s 2×4

It was more than 30 years ago, but I still remember it vividly.  With the stroke of a neuron, I’m transported back to my youth group, and my seat on a log in front of the firepit, grousing to a friend about how the chaperone’s children are hogging the horses (all three of them).   It was a teen outing, after all, so protocol suggests it should be the teens enjoying what the event had to offer.  The offerings, by the way, were noticeably tired and the sun was beginning to set.  The one turn I’d had was all I’d get, and I do love to ride horses, given my few opportunities to do so.

Suddenly, mid-grumble, as though choreographed by a Hallmark Movie director, a horse slowly walked up on my right, led by one of the farm hands and ridden by our pastor’s son.  His father helped him dismount, and without a hint of prompting, ‘Doug’ walked immediately to a spot in front of the horse, within my earshot and sightline.  He reached up, took the horse’s muzzle in his hands, pulled his head down, kissed him on the nose, and said “Thanks for letting me ride you.” 

!WHAP! In a mere instant, my ingratitude was on display, in high-definition.  In that moment, God didn’t bother to agree or disagree with my perception of fair, He simply pointed out a higher priority: in everything, give thanks.

Someday in Heaven, when this scene is replayed for His glory, Jesus and I will share a wink.  You see, on the day I met the lady who graciously welcomed me to her home, she told me about the 25 horses in the pasture behind the house….and I have an open invitation to ride. Just one of the personalized perks of His provision.

Faith Workout – Session 3

No, we’re not even going to count how many weeks it’s been since Session 2.  The important question is, do you have your list of blessings that are yours due to your placement in your family, community, country, and time frame?

I’ve already taken advantage of several this morning: a firm mattress bed in a sheltered place (with snow outside), an operational commode & sink, privacy to dress in clean clothes, and at least three choices of breakfast food.  Since I’ve chosen cinnamon toast, I’m pleased to have an electric toaster that won’t turn my bread into a burnt offering, and of course, the electric to operate it.  In America, it still goes without saying (too often) that I am free to make choices and live without fear that half an army will come swarming into my home.

Now, we’re going to narrow the scope farther, and make another list.  C’mon, you knew this was coming eventually…  This time, start a list of blessings, opportunities, rescues, and messages that are uniquely yours alone.  The day you were at your wit’s end and the one friend or family member who could help without making matters worse just ‘happened’ to pop by, unaware that you needed them, but with time and energy to give you.  Arriving at a busy store at just the right moment to get the closest non-handicap spot.  The right song coming on the radio just when you needed to hear it’s message.  An overlooked $5 bill in your pocket just when you need a bit of cash.  Being the one person on the scene with an intimate knowledge of some mechanical or medical situation so you could be someone else’s Angel-du-Jour.

In my life, there have been several chains-of-events that I could trace back through and see the decision tree that made the current moment possible.  One is in this article.

The key is, you were specifically designed with characteristics and experiences in order to fit into God’s scheme of bringing unique individuals to Himself.  Part of growing your faith to help you walk through the situations that seem uncomfortable or wasteful is seeing the situations of blessing and provision that are uniquely yours.  Making this list will help you get beyond the media message that everyone is just an amorphous interchangeable blob of tissue & emotion.  Let God show you that He is not too busy to be involved with the moments of your life.  Yes, yours!

If you could use a jump-start, take a look at Ehud in the book of Judges…he was a lefty, so he got his dagger past the standard pat-down of his day, freeing his people from a tyrant.  Joseph was falsely accused & sitting in a jail cell when the king’s servants were put there for some infraction, and his ability to understand dreams eventually resulted in saving their known world from an impending famine.  Esther was selected above all other ladies to be the next Persian Queen, enabling her to speak up for all Jews in the empire during a critical and deadly episode.

What coordinated incidents (coincidences) have you been involved in or privy to?  What special skills or insights have you been granted because of your collection of characteristics and experiences?  Dust off your pen & start listing… (and don’t forget to say ‘Thank You’).