Thursday, April 30, 2015

On the Journey with us (Step 3)

"Hola! Mi amigas! Como estas?"  (Hello my friends of the female persuasion.  How are  you?)

Those are some of the words I remember, not from the past year of study, but all the way back to high school Spanish class.  Why do the new words not stay in my brain?  Oh, yeah, I'm old.

(I do remember Que hora est? Que es esto? and Tango hambre!  But I digress)

As we slowly plow along on our path to doing missions in Cuba (we hope), we have begun to share this vision with others.  It makes it a little more real.

We bolstered our courage and headed back to our high school (Lincoln High School) to listen in on some conversations in Spanish at the Dia de Ninos fiesta.  It was sponsored by Centro de Las Americas.  Due to rain they moved in doors, unfortunately.

It was crowded and a little bit wild with ninos running here and there.  Many were in the cutest outfits for dancing.  Ninas in big colorful skirts that seemed to make wings as they danced.  Ninos in black coats and pants with sombreros--so cute you could die!  (Nope, no pics.)

We watched some dances.  Checked out the food (lines too long to eat).  And eaves-dropped.  We weren't too bold to hablamos very much.  Sad.

A praise item:  I thought my little red camera was gone FOREVER!  Then one day this week, hubby came with a smirk on his face.  It seems that my lost camera was right. in. front. of. my. nose!  Really.  He found it here.

That's right.  I walked past it every day since Christmas when I last saw it.  So why does my awesome purchase of an "organizer" end up eating my camera for FOUR months?

We have contacted a few mission's boards, but still aren't sure which one to go with or for how long we're supposed to go.  I keep going back to TEAM but they don't have anyone in Cuba--yet.  Could it be that the Lord wants us to be the first?

I'm finding these updates are a little dry for my writing taste.  I miss sharing what God is showing me in His word.  So, here's this week's find.

Blessed by the LORD (Yahweh), my rock (Elohi Tsuri),
My lovingkindness (chesed) and my fortress (metsudah),
My stronghold (misgab) and my deliverer (palat);
My shield (magen), and He in whom I take refuge (my place to flee to-chasah). . . .
Psalm 144:1a and 2

This spoke to me because of the study I recently finsihed on the names of God.  I'm seeing His names EVERYwhere in His word.  Awesome.

A blessing this Spring is the return of lilac blooms to the bushes we cut WAY back about 3 years ago.

They are so pretty and smell so good.  Achew!  

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Journey of 1,000 Steps 2

Cuba!  Just saying the word invokes a bit of excitement in my heart.

Excited to see how this adventure will unfold.  Excited to see God work through me, us to encourage others.  Excited to see some movement here.

As my ggirl's favorite song says, "I love to Move It!"  (You should see us dance when this song comes on!  London says, "Get up Gramma!" because she doesn't want to dance alone.)

Some things that I can praise God for:

-  Our maestra Michaela thinks we are doing awesome (awesomely) in our Spanish lessons!  Woohoo!  (No translation needed for that one.)  We can definitely buy groceries and ask for directions.  It's a start.

-  We've had two people tell us they are interested in going with us on a short trip.  Woohoo!

-  I learned last night at our small group Bible study that my hubby is open to long term.  What?  I never would have thunk it.

You can pray for these things:

-  We need to find a way to get there.  We want to be honest and obey all of Cuba's laws.  Perhaps the ending of the embargo will open a door.  Perhaps there is a mission board that we can work with.  Much wisdom is needed. (James 1:5)

-  I'm concerned about The Pain.  Can I truly handle 7-10 (or forever) of travel like this?  ("I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" Phil. 4:13.)

-  I need to have time off of grannying to go.  I have over 2 months off this Fall as a new grandson will be joining the familia.  But we are not nearly ready to go that soon, are we?

I realize this is only the 2nd step on this road of a 1,000.  (1,458.4 miles to be exact.  I looked it up.  Wonder how many steps in a mile?  Good thing we can fly there!)

Let me know if you want to be a prayer partner for this adventure and I'll try to keep you updated.  For now, Adios! Mi amigos y familia.  (Hm, do you plural family?)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Prayer to be still

Psalm 23
A Psalm of David

The LORD is my Shepherd,
   I shall not want .
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name's sake.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil;
For Thou art with me;
Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
Thou hast anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Father, I love studying Your names.  I wish I could study them on my own, but I lack the education to.

Each name is a portion of Your character, a part of You and who You are.  They reveal a tender part of You.

Like being my Shepherd, a tender care taker who not only looks out for my safety, my nourishment, my protection, but who has adopted me as one of Your own.

When studying this name for You, I learned that a shepherd will sometimes discipline a wayward sheep by breaking its leg.  Then as the lamb heals, that same shepherd will carry that sheep in the crook of his arm, close to his heart.  Until, healed, that lamb prefers to stay close to that shepherd.

And I am like that lamb, right?

I had not noticed the intensity of the verse 2 before.  (How could I have missed it?  Could it be that this part of the living Word was not yet alive for me?)

"He makes me lie down in green pastures."  He makes me lie down.  You, You make me lie down.  You make me rest.  You tell me I need refreshment, to be still and close to You.

You show me that I am a foolish sheep wanting my own way, not realizing that Your way is best.  Was I too busy doing?  Was I too busy filling my day with service to You that You turned and made me lie down.  You gave me the Pain that forces me to stop and lie down.

Come, behold the works of the LORD,
Who has wrought desolations in the earth.
He makes wars to ceasae to the end of the earth,
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariots with fire.
'Cease striving and know that I AM God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.'
The LORD of Hosts is with us,
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. [Selah.
Psalm 46:8-11

Be still.  Cease striving.  Stop doing, working, trying.  

To be still is defined by Strong's as "to sink, to let drop, abandon, relax."

Exalted, on the other hand, is defined as "to rise up".  

Thus I am to be still, drop my work to rest, to sink down low.  And You, Father, are to rise up!  Whoa!  What an awesome picture!  It reminds me of John the Baptist's words, "'A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven.  You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, 'I am not the Christ,' but, 'I have been sent before Him.'  He who has the bride is the bridegroom, but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice.  And so this joy of mine has been made full.  He must increase, but I must decrease.'"  (John 3:37-30)

Father, if I allowed myself to be exalted above You in any way, took credit for something that was truly a gift from You, forgive me.  Pride can come even when I was teaching and encouraging others.

I admit I was proud.  Proud to be used by You.  (You would use me?  Needed me!)  I should have humbly conveyed my unworthiness to You, the fact that I on my own could not achieve anything.  But You could fill me with Your Spirit and use me.

I see now that You do make me lie down in green pastures.  Help me to be still, quiet, restful that I may know that You are the Great I AM God.  Like the sheep I am restless, antsy, uncertain even.

I want to be still and know You as God, to know You as my Shepherd.  I open my hands and release whatever it is I've been holding on to and I accept this peace, this quiet, this restfulness from You.  

And with the still-ness, I know You better
.  Amen.