Thursday, December 19, 2013

Honest Holiday Feelings- 2 Years Later

One of my favorite things about having a blog & journaling is looking back at what the Lord has taught me & brought me through. As I was looking back this week, my eyes fell on a post from 2 years ago, Honest Holiday Feelings. I was really struggling. Nothing felt like Christmas. Hot, drippy, sweaty just doesn't feel Christmasy.

I'm not sure what has changed, but this year is different. Granted, I'm still struggling. We always are struggling with something. We wouldn't be human nor would we long for our REAL home if struggling ceased. It's still super hot & I still dripped sweat while decorating my tree this year. I still miss being with my family for the holidays, Starbucks Christmas drinks, boots & scarves. But I can honestly say that, there is no where I'd rather be than here on my little island home right now. I still can't pinpoint exactly what is different, but I'm pretty sure the key is purposeful thankfulness.

The last nine months have been the most difficult yet for us as a family. It has been a roller coaster ride that never ends. Going from being extremely busy to flying almost slacking off completely. Constant changing of plans & looming unknowns. Being hurt by people we love. Being incredibly blessed by others. Times of loneliness. Times of friends abundant. No stability. More goodbyes than I care to count. Joyful reunions...



We've watched our little island country slowly struggle to get back on its feet in the aftermath of the worst typhoon in history & helped in what little ways we can. It has been absolutely overwhelming as we have seen incredible destruction with smiling faces poking out of the rubble because now they have rice to eat.


It's amazing what looking into the face of tragedy does to your heart. Overflowing thankfulness is the only response. I know tragedy & sadness often make people hard & angry at God & I could be there as well. So easy. But I haven't been able to get this out of my mind- 

"So Jesus said to the twelve, "You do not want to go away also, do you?" Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life." -John 6:67-68

Where else would I go? Who else has the words that speak life to the weary & hurting soul? 

Thankfulness & gratitude. They make all the difference. Focusing on what I do have, not what I don't. Knowing who I serve. He speaks peace & life to my heart. 

Whether you are with you family or far away from them this Christmas, in tropics or snow, with lots of presents under tree or with few, may your heart know the One who has the words of life. Let Him speak peace to you & thank Him. 




"The people here are so very, very happy for all the food things you bring us here!" --Lucilla, grandma to many children and grandchildren on Bandit island that will now get to eat one meal today.  One.







Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Not Helpless- A Typhoon Haiyan Yolanda Update




As pictures and reports started pouring in from the internet & from co-workers, we sat stunned & felt completely overwhelmed. In a few short hours, “just another typhoon” had gone to a very close-to-home, massive tragedy.

We had been preparing for this typhoon just like we had others, getting the word out, making sure people had what they needed to weather through. We’d all made it through many storms. This was just another one. Little did we know. As the storm began to move across the central Philippines, we began losing contact with our fellow missionaries as communications & electricity went down. After the storm passed, we were swamped trying to coordinate help for our own missionaries.  Praise the Lord, they were all safe and accounted for, so we have turned our attention to what we can do to help those who were most affected by the typhoon.

On Sunday morning this week we were approached by a team with the Philippine Red Cross about the possibility of flying them for aerial surveys and damage assessments so that they could more effectively deploy relief workers into areas damaged by the typhoon. Relief flying isn’t something we’ve ever done before, mostly because we have such a small team (4 families in the Philippines right now) and many of us are already maxed out just trying to keep up with our normal flying schedule. We also haven’t been in the country for a disaster as overwhelming as this one so we haven’t felt this kind of desperation before.

Because of the devastation caused by this super typhoon and the desperate situation so many are in, we decided to ask a few of our friends and churches back home if they would be willing to help out as we did not have the funds to do all of the flying and relief work. Within a few hours, we had received financial pledges that were adequate to do the Red Cross flights as well as a large donation of fuel for our second relief project at “ground zero,” Tacloban City.

It has been crazy for us since then as our phones and email have seen unbelievable traffic! We have been forwarded emails of missionaries trapped on islands, people needing to get from one place to another, asking for us to help as soon as we can. We have felt the desperation that so many people are feeling right now and we wish we could help all of them.

We are working closely with some missionaries on some smaller islands close to ours that are coordinating with mayors & leaders on other islands that are severely damaged by the typhoon. Our family was able to go and buy 2500 lbs of rice & other relief goods to be flown in & distributed to these islands because of the Lord’s answer for financial aid from our support network back home. Josh has begun to fly these supplies in & has several more flights coming in the next few days with tons of new opportunities coming in all the time.



Our other pilot friends have been waiting for days to get clearance to land in Tacloban, but have been unable to until they have established peace and order in the area. They are currently on a bigger island close to that area where they will stay and fly relief from. Very few foreign aid agencies have been able to get into the disaster areas to help & we are hoping to be able to help secure the area so the bigger agencies can move into position to do their work.

Please pray for all of us as another storm has moved in & has grounded our flights. We are hoping to resume tomorrow. So many doors are opening & requests being made for our services- we need the Lord’s wisdom to know which doors to walk through. Pray for stamina & encouragement for all of us as the task looks daunting. Pray for the Filipino people who are trying to rebuild their lives with nothing. Pray most of all for Christ’s love to shine through us to those we are serving.

Click here if you would like to give toward relief efforts.

“Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives & God’s plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins. Our broken lives are not lost or useless. God’s love is still working. He comes in & takes the calamity and uses it victoriously, working out His wonderful plan of love.” -Eric Liddell

Thank you all so much for your prayers, support, & encouragement. God is not helpless among the ruins. And we all are so blessed to be able to be a part of His rebuilding.




Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Never Wasted

I was looking forward to starting my new series this week on "What It's Like" living here in the Philippines. 

And then life happened. Sometimes so unexpected, sometimes so predictable. It's amazing sometimes how one person's choice can turn your life upside down. I forget that our lives are so intertwined with others & how much of a domino affect things can have.

I'm not even sure how to put into words how I'm feeling right now. I feel like part of me is dying inside & I am fighting to keep it alive. Like old wounds that I thought had healed long ago have been reopened. Things I thought had been put behind me are in my face again. 

I'm tired of fighting for things that are dying. I'm tired of loving unreciprocated. I'm tired of watching people walk away from arms wide open. 

Someone we loved walked away today & it opened the floodgates of my heart. Lots of pent up emotion & thoughts that have been shoved aside for another day came out today. Sadness, frustration, feeling taken for granted, useless, betrayed, & empty.

I should have known there was a reason the prodigal son has kept coming up in conversation, school, & quiet time lately. I have been reminded again of how much I am like the older brother. "Why?" "Why, Father, are you wasting it all on Him? I'm the one who has obeyed." Not that I am not a prodigal as well, because we all are, but I've always identified with the older brother.

I've known a lot of real prodigals in my life. People who have it all, but all they see is what they don't have. People who have been rescued from a living hell & walk back in- WILLINGLY. I just don't get it. I really don't. 

I don't have an answer. I don't know why. No person can give me answers. Most people can't identify. So I find myself at the only place I can go. When it comes down to it, where else can we go? When it doesn't make sense, when you don't see His purposes, when you don't have anything left- AT HIS FEET. At His glorious beautiful feet- I throw my struggles, my fear, my hurt. I can almost feel His hands lifting my face up to His. "I see you." He sees me. "I'm here." He's here. "My love is never wasted." His love is NEVER wasted! Loving someone with God's love is NEVER in vain. 


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What It's Like- A Series

Some days, it is a really exciting life. It seems surreal- living on a tropical island in the ocean, palm trees & crabs in my yard, serving & doing what makes our hearts glad. You can almost feel God's smile.

Other days, aren't that great. Like yesterday when Little J got stung 9 times by bees. Or when I hold Sweet Pea crying because she misses her cousins. The incessant heat, power-outages, & loneliness.


As I was thinking the other day, I realized that even though my blog is called, "The Ramblings of A Missionary Wife," I actually don't share much about what it's like being & living as a missionary. (I usually end up getting "preachy.")

So I decided to do a series of posts about what it is like living here in the Philippines as a missionary wife. What is our house like? What do we eat? Do my kids like it here? Is it weird having people live with you? How do you celebrate holidays?

I hope to give you a little glimpse into our lives & how the Lord has made this little island our home. Look for the first "What It's Like" post about our house & town! Coming soon!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dear Dreamers

Dreams. That word brings up different feelings for different people. We all have good dreams & bad dreams. We all dream of doing big things, of traveling beautiful places, of the person we will marry, of the life we want to have. 

And then you have THOSE dreams. Dreams that mean more. The ones that are so real, you can touch them, taste them, see them. The ones that excite your spirit & encourage your soul. I don't think all dreams are signs or spiritual even, but THOSE dreams. I think it's God talking. To encourage you, to start you on a path, to give you hope. It's like He took the thought right out of His own mind & put it in yours. He is written all over it. 

Sometimes He even gives you dreams that He fulfills in others. He gives you dreams FOR others. Instead of realizing this, we just get mad because God isn't fulfilling or giving us our dreams. We mope & cry, when in reality, The Lord is wanting to use us to help prepare others for His dreams! Think of all the other times in Scripture when God gave dreams that weren't fulfilled until years later with someone else- Abraham, Daniel, John...

As a mom, I have started asking The Lord to give me His dreams, not just for me, but for my babies. 

My Mom had a dream when she was younger. She dreamed of going overseas as a missionary. That's what she wanted to do. But, God had a different plan for her. His dream for her was to be a pastor's wife & to walk the road of adoption & be the Mom to 16 kids. The young dream she had was fulfilled the day an 11 year old little girl told her, "Mom, I think God want me to be a missionary." She then told me about that dream that God had given her as a little girl. 

I want to dream God's dreams. It gives me chills just to think that God would choose to accomplish His purposes & dreams in people like you & me! 

Dream, dear dreamers. Dream God dreams.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I Could Never...

You hear it a lot. Everywhere you go. The multitudes of "I could nevers. And a lot of them from such opposing views. "I could never have that many kids." "I could never just have one child." "I could never homeschool." "I could never trust someone else with my kids education." "I could never go to a church like that." "I could never marry that person." 

Or the ones that hit a little closer to home for us. "I could never live in a third world country." "I could never take my kids away from their grandparents." And the one we hear the most often, "I could never do what you guys do." (I heard this one a lot when we were on furlough last year.) 

Well, I have news for you. No, you couldn't. And yes, you could.

This mindset of "never coulds" comes from living a life of comparison. We see others doing what seems like the impossible or others not doing things that seem so easy or natural to us. We tend to idolize those who "do the impossible" & look down on those who "can't" even do what we do. "Look at that family with 12 kids!" & "I have 3 kids, & I can handle it, so why can't she?". "I can't homeschool, so we do Christian school," & "You're putting your kids in public school???". "You go to that church? Well, we go to this church." And on and on. Comparison is such a joy, peace, & relationship stealer!

The Lord plainly & clearly called us as missionaries to the Philippines. The only reason we can do this is because that is what He has called us & enabled us to do. I "couldn't" do anything else unless He called me to that as well. So, no. You can't do what I'm doing, because what I am doing isn't what He has called you to. I can't do what God has called you to do, because He called YOU. 

But, you could do what we do, if He called you to do it. He would give you exactly what you needed just like He gives you exactly what you need now. When preparing to move overseas, I thought about stepping on that airplane, waving goodbye to my family, taking my babies away from their grandparents & I thought the exact same thing. "I can't do it." So thankful that my God isn't limited to my can'ts. The day came & I stepped on that plane & waved goodbye. HE DID IT! And He will do for you whatever it is He has asked you to do. 

So, be careful with those, "I could nevers." Focus on what He has called you to & encourage those around you in what He has called them to. He is not limited by our nevers. Just ask Him. 



                                  4 years after the "never"

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Brown Outs

Our electricity has been going out at least once daily for several hours, sometimes all night. They call it a "brown out" here. It gets really, really annoying when I'm in the middle of dinner or a science experiment with the kids and out it goes with no promise of when it will be on again. In some ways, it seems like my life has been a "brown out" lately. The power out. The drive gone. Trudging through the day because I know that's what I need to do. Dealing with another bad attitude, another sudden change of plans, another unhappy person.

I feel like I've been on this honest kick with myself lately. Be honest. Don't stuff it. Don't wait until later to deal with it. I've discovered through experience that "stuffing it" for now, always leads to an explosion later...

One thing I'm struggling with though is this. How do you be honest & not complain? Yeah. My being honest seems to quickly lead to a huge "O, whoa is me!", giant, complaining session. And then, I feel bad about being honest"& I'm singing the "Do Everything Without Complaining" song in my head. This usually leads back into my "deal with it later", quiet cycle. Oh, where is the balance?

I really, really like when God gives answers. Especially in wise words of those who've struggled with the same things. As these thoughts have continued to run wildly through my head, "eucharisto" (Greek word meaning- to give thanks) & Ann Voskamp's many wise words keep resounding through the wilds of my mind. If you have never read her book, "One Thousand Gifts", I would highly recommend. It is times like these that I pick up again to remind myself. 

She talks about thanksgiving that is sometimes painful. When it literally takes every ounce of strength & will to give thanks for something. When through gritted teeth, with sweat pouring down my face, I mutter, "Thank you, Lord, that I have electricity to lose." When with tears running down my face & my heart physically aching, I cry, "Thank you, Jesus, for my son who teaches me patience & consistency." When missing my family on the other side of ocean becomes almost unbearable, I say, "Thank you, Father, for family to love & a clear calling on our lives, knowing this is where we are meant to be." Yes, be honest. Be thankfully honest. 

A physical, verbal giving of thanks to the Giver of All Things. That is the answer. Even if my feelings aren't quite there, say it. Out loud. "Thank you, Jesus. Thank you." It's amazing how fast your feelings catch up. There is power in words. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

From A Quiet One

So, I don't think anyone who knows me would say that I am a quiet person. I talk a lot & am pretty comfortable around people. But there is a part of me & a lot of others like me that is quiet. 

Do you ever find yourself telling someone or wanting to tell someone, "Just because you scream the loudest doesn't mean you'll get the most attention." Sometimes I really wish that were true. Because if you think about it, which one of your kids or friends gets the most attention? The one who screams the loudest. Who in your extended family or workplace gets the most attention? The one who causes the most drama. It's so true. The people who cause problems & make drama are the ones who get the spotlight & attention.

And then, there are the quiet ones. The ones who say, "I'm fine," when you ask how they are doing. The ones who never make a big stink about anything. The ones who always seem to have everything together. The ones that people often go to for counsel. The friend you always call to unload on. The child who outwardly is always obedient & hardly ever gets in trouble. The people who work behind the scenes without being told or noticed.

 The ones who inside have just as many problems, hurts, & drama as the others, you just never know about it. Most of the time, we are wearing the "fine & put together" mask, where the others just have the boldness & honesty not to put one on at all. Sometimes I want to scream & fall apart just so someone will notice I'm really not fine. Sometimes I would like someone who really cares to unload on. Sometimes I wish someone would notice the things I do behind the scenes. 

I do not normally write things of this nature, but I felt really strongly that this was a God thought & not a Candy one. I am not writing this for people to tell me I'm doing a good job or to feel sorry for me, but on behalf of all the other quiet ones out there who need a little attention. Some encouragement. A thank-you. 

Quiet ones- Take heart. The King of all Kings notices & He cares even when you feel taken advantage of. Be honest. Take off your mask. Bear your soul. Learn from the screamers. Maybe you should scream a little. :) Encourage another quiet one.

Screamers- Thanks for being honest. Thanks for not wearing a mask. But maybe learn to scream a little less. God hears whispers too. Take notice of the quiet ones. Go find one. Tell them you notice & give them some attention.




Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mom




My dad recently asked me, "What does Mom mean to you?" As I sit here across the ocean from her & think about that question, I struggle for words. How can I put into words what my Mom means to me. There are none. But I'll try my best. 

  • My Mom means strength- She is one of the strongest people I know. Unfailing, always there strength. 
  • My Mom means patience- Don't remember one time that she raised her voice to me. And I was a back-talker!!!
  • My Mom means encouragement- She IS THE MOST encouraging person I know. Always speaking encouraging words, writing encouraging words. Speaking life.
  • My Mom means trust- In very dark, painful experiences, trusting the Lord always has a purpose. I say words to myself that she always said to me, "It'll all be all right!"
  • My Mom means responsibility- Getting up at 4 am year after year to get time with the Lord before all the kids got up. She taught me to take responsibility for my actions. Another one of her quotes I often say to myself is, "I am not responsible for the actions of others, but I am responsible for my response to them."
  • My Mom means sacrifice- This is one of the main things I think of when I think of her & my Dad. She has given up SO many things. How many of you can say that you spent your life raising 16 children?!?! She gave up sleep, time alone, hobbies, friends, food, money, time with Dad & the list is endless.
  • My Mom means passion- Passion for Christ, for my Dad, for her family, for people, just radiates out of her. She never does anything half-way.
  • My Mom means beauty- She taught me what true beauty is- a love for Christ, beauty that comes from inside. She is the perfect example. And she looks pretty awesome on the outside too! 
  • My Mom means support- She supports me in what God has called me to, even though it means being thousands of miles away, her grandkids included. 
  • My Mom means courage- Her life has been an adventure. Never knowing what will be next. I'm sure it sometimes feels like she's lived 1,000 lives without ever leaving her home. It takes courage to be a mother. To adopt 14 children. She did all these things with quiet courage. My mother is the unsung SuperWoman.
  • My Mom means friend- Besides my husband, she has & always will be my best friend. I can tell her anything & we are super close. I am so thankful for that because I realize how rare it is. 
  • My Mom means love- Unconditional, God love. A lot of times it doesn't make sense. Agape, God-love, doesn't usually make sense. When I think of all the nitty-gritty details of our family, the things that are hard to love, I then think about all the things that I probably don't know about. And it makes me even more in awe of her love.

Ladies, as you get older, you always dread the comments- "You are turning into your mother!" Or "You look just like your Mom!" I am so blessed to say that whenever I hear that, (which is very often), my heart swells with love & pride, & I reply, "Why, thank you! She's absolutely amazing!" I love her more than words can say. I miss her so terribly & I wish I could be with her on Mother's Day. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. She is my HERO!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Tattoos

As I was walking to the front of Wal-Mart to try & find the shortest check-out line, I saw her. It was just another busy day. We had been home on furlough for several months & I was trying to hurry, get my stuff, & get out, which is pretty much impossible in our small town Wal-Mart. I wasn't in the best mood anyway & didn't feel like talking much.

The checker at "the shortest line" was a tattooed, pierced girl who looked "shady" to me. She had already seen me so I was pretty much committed. I just hoped maybe I wouldn't have to talk, avoided eye contact, & was thanking the Lord for how automated our world has become...when I hear this cheerful voice ask me, "How are you today?" I looked up at her face for the first time & was surprised as I saw beautiful, clear, blue eyes. She proceeded to tell me how her day had gone & about the special Easter services her church was having the next few weeks. Church. Really? I asked her where she went to church & she proceeded to tell me how she & her daughter had been saved the year before & how good it was to be free & how much joy she had now that she had Jesus.

Speechless. Tears in my eyes. I felt completely & utterly ashamed. I quietly thanked her, took my bags, & left. Here I was judging her because I saw tattoos & piercings, but in front of me was a woman who was walking with Jesus & showing her love for Him way more than I was that day. My prideful, judging heart gets in the way a lot.

I sat in the parking lot for a while. Contemplating what had just happened. Why do I so quickly jump to conclusions by looking at someone's outside? Why do I think I am any better simply because I don't "look" like that? Bam. Bam. Bam. Conviction so very heavy.

Everyone has a story. Everyone has hurts. Everyone has walked a different path. The people who came to Jesus & even the people that Jesus sought out weren't exactly picture perfect. But that's not what Jesus saw.

And that's what I realized that I am still missing. LOVE.

Jesus wanted to hear their story. He wanted to know their wounds. He wanted all the broken & bruised pieces. He wanted to show them what He saw. What LOVE sees.

He is LOVE. LOVE climbs on a tree where someone else should have died. LOVE heals by bleeding into wounds. LOVE doesn't see the outward. LOVE sees the person. LOVE wins.

Who cares about tattoos? Who cares about weird clothes? Come on, people. Let your heart cry with mine- that we will see with LOVE.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

It's A Choice

You know how you just have "those days?" You find yourself telling your friend, "Yep, it's one of those days." Well, it has definitely been one of those days; one of those weeks really. One of those where everything doesn't go right & your attitude is following suite.

We're on Day 4 with no water. It comes on for a little bit at night & fills the tank up enough to do dishes in the morning & flush toilets. Then, it's gone. The power has gone out everyday this week for up to 9 hours at a time. It's super hot & I feel sticky, tired, & pretty much defeated. As we sit & try to do school without a breath of air & the kids have just as much energy as ever, I feel crabby & I just want to go crawl in a dark, cool hole.

As I find myself ranting to my poor husband about my woes, (like he can do something about it), I realize something. My vocabulary is full of two little words. "I feel." Feeling are real. Feelings tell us things. Feelings are powerful. But feelings are not always the truth.

Yesterday, I put on a bracelet of mine & had I remembered what it said on it, I probably wouldn't have put it on. I glanced down & read. "Blessed. I choose joyful gratitude. I choose quiet strength. I choose love, love, love." The Lord gave me a will. And He gave me the power to choose right.

Practically speaking, sometimes I don't know how to do this. It's easy to say, "I'll choose joy." But how do I do that?

For me, it starts in my mind. Where am I focusing? I am dwelling on the things that aren't going the way I want. I am allowing circumstances to dictate my attitude.
"Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." -Philippians 4:8

Choosing to not let complaining words come out of my mouth. I can choose to praise instead. "Thank you, Lord, that I have water at all." Besides, little ears are always listening. And their attitude often follows mine.

I feel defeated. But I choose His victory. I feel tired. But I choose His strength. I feel crabby. But I choose His joy. I choose His love.

Learning to choose-
Candy






Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Water

Have you ever been so thirsty, you just knew you were going to die if you didn't get some water? I've been pretty thirsty, but I don't think I've ever been at that point. I do know some little guys who have frequented my home a lot lately who act that way though.

This is Philippines dry season. Otherwise known as HOT season. The grass turns brown, the ground cracks, & our lush, green paradise dies until rainy season comes again. Water is in short supply & has been known to completely turn off except for a couple hours a day. All living things are pretty desperate for water. We long for rain!

The particular little guys I'm referring to are ants. Everywhere I look there are ants. In every cabinet, sink, shower, crack & crevice. I was in the shower yesterday & I watched them as they frantically chased every little drop & stream of the water. Most of the time, I smash every creeping critter with 6 legs or more. But these little guys made me stop as I watched them scrambling for life. I wondered how far they traveled from their ant hill to find water. I'm sure it wasn't an easy journey.

I'm not a big water drinker. If there is something besides water available, that is usually what I drink. I know that's bad, but I usually don't realize it until I am dehydrated or bordering on coming down with a severe UTI. I should know better. Sodas, juices, & coffees do not make up for the real life & energy that pure water brings.

Water is life. All living creatures need it to survive. If we do not have water, we die. Plain & simple.

In Scripture, Jesus says, "But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:14 ESV)

Sometimes we go through dry seasons. We feel that God is far away. Our fruit is wilted & puny & it feels like our joy is dying & paradise is far on the horizon. We are desperate for living water. We long for rain!

We should be like the little ants. They are willing to go wherever they have to go to find water. Even places that are not their natural habitat & I'm sure are uncomfortable to be in.

How many times do we try & satisfy our thirst for water with substitutes? "I'll just DO this for God & I'll be satisfied." "I got 5 minutes with Him last week. That should last me a while." "I'm sure God will ask someone else to do that. I'm just not comfortable with it." "I just don't feel God. I'll wait until I feel Him." And we wonder why we're dying of thirst? He's there! He's pouring out the rain even when we don't "feel" it! He never leaves us. But sometimes we aren't willing to go where He is. Where is He in your life right now? No question in if He's there, but are you there?

Jesus is life. All living creatures need Him to survive. If we don't have Him, we die. Plain & simple.

From one little ant to another




Sunday, March 3, 2013

Extreme




Sometimes it just hits me. I have a few second of quiet, when you question your existence. “Am I really here right now? Am I dreaming? It still seems like I should be sitting on my daddy’s knee with my little Bubba, safe & secure in comfort, away from danger & risk. Have I dreamed all of this into existence? Do I really have 2 beautiful kids? Have I really been married for 10 years to a man who far exceeds my every dream?”
I find asking these questions. Why can’t my life just be normal? Why can’t it just be like everyone else’s? Why can’t we have some consistency, God? Just one little, consistent thing? Like, knowing how much money we will have this month or can we just have one place instead of five to call home? The life we live is hard. Constant & painful goodbyes. Wiping tears from little eyes because we have to leave Grampy & Grammy again. Hugging my husband in the morning as he goes to fly a tiny plane in the jungle into some of the smallest airstrips in creation. Loss is real. Living and being a part of two completely different cultures & trying to stay connected with both. 
As I sat & thought about these things today, I realized that my life is one of extremes. Even my favorite things are extremes. Mountains & oceans. I struggle with finding balance in all areas of my life. I can’t do anything halfway. My husband says that I love fiercely. Sometimes I wish I didn’t because then it wouldn’t hurt fiercely. I struggle hard with things. It’s hard to let go. It’s hard to leave my family. It’s hard to watch my babies cry. I find myself asking God, “Why? Why does my life have to be so extreme? Couldn’t I have just moved a state away instead of an ocean away? Why can’t we just be normal & have some consistency?”
Over the past few weeks, the Lord has been answering. A follower of Christ doesn’t live a normal life, because we don’t serve a normal God. My life cannot be anything but extreme, because my God is extreme. Instead of resisting the extremes of my life, embrace them. God loves extremely! Sending your son to die is extreme! His Spirit does extreme, unexplainable things. His peace is extreme beyond reason. He takes extreme evil & uses it for extreme good. He takes extreme fear & turns it into extreme trust. He is the God of the extreme & unexplainable. He does things that don’t make sense & calls His people to do things that don’t make sense. He is always there even when we don’t see Him. From the majestic mountains to the deepest oceans, He’s there. (Psalm 139:9-10) That is EXTREME! 
So as followers of our extreme God- Trust extremely. Serve extremely. Rest extremely. Love extremely. 

"Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin,e so that we could be made right with God through Christ."  2 Corinthians 5:11-21