Friday, May 29, 2015

21 Years

21 years ago Charly and I stood together in front of the church, surrounded by our family and friends, and pledged our lives together.
For as long as we both shall live...

21 years ago we were making plans to move to China as a young husband and wife.

Today we are packing up all of our belongings and memories. And preparing to fly the other direction across the globe. With one way tickets.


We have 5 more days here in Lanzhou, followed by 10 final days in Tianjin. To celebrate Joshua's high school graduation with his two best friends from the Tianjin  homeschool group. And to bring closure there.

A lot of life has happened in these 21 years. These past weeks, as I've been sorting through old letters, photos, school work, books, and journals...I've been reliving lots of moments. The highs and the lows. And reflecting on all that God has done in our lives.

A friend shared a great song with Charly and me this week, that I think captures exactly what God is to us right now. We are thankful today on our anniversary that our God is faithful forever. And that His plans are still to prosper. He has not forgotten us. He is with us in the fire and the flood. And He is teaching us to trust in new ways as we begin this new season of our lives.

"Sovereign Over Us"
by Michael W. Smith

There is strength within the sorrow
There is beauty in our tears
And You meet us in our mourning
With a love that casts out fear
You are working in our waiting
You're sanctifying us
When beyond our understanding
You're teaching us to trust

Your plans are still to prosper
You have not forgotten us
You're with us in the fire and the flood
You're faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us

You are wisdom unimagined
Who could understand Your ways
Reigning high above the Heavens
Reaching down in endless grace
You're the lifter of the lowly
Compassionate and kind
You surround and You uphold me
And Your promises are my delight

Your plans are still to prosper
You have not forgotten us
You're with us in the fire and the flood
You're faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us
[x2]

Even what the enemy means for evil
You turn it for our good
You turn it for our good and for Your glory
Even in the valley, You are faithful
You're working for our good
You're working for our good and for Your glory
[x2]

Your plans are still to prosper
You have not forgotten us
You're with us in the fire and the flood
You're faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us
[x2]

You're faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Grace

In honor of Charly's 45th birthday today I wanted to share a song that has really ministered to him these past several months (and to me too as he has been playing it so much!) These are wonderful lyrics and music. We hope this song blesses you too.


"Grace" by Laura Story

My heart is so proud. My mind is so unfocused.
I see the things You do through me as great things I have done.
And now You gently break me, then lovingly You take me
And hold me as my father and mold me as my maker.

[Chorus:]
I ask you: "How many times will you pick me up,
When I keep on letting you down?
And each time I will fall short of Your glory,
How far will forgiveness abound?"
And You answer: "My child, I love you.
And as long as you're seeking My face,
You'll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace."

At times I may grow weak and feel a bit discouraged,
Knowing that someone, somewhere could do a better job.
For who am I to serve You? I know I don't deserve You.
And that's the part that burns in my heart and keeps me hanging on.

[Chorus:]
I ask you: "How many times will you pick me up,
When I keep on letting you down?
And each time I will fall short of Your glory,
How far will forgiveness abound?"
And You answer: "My child, I love you.
And as long as you're seeking My face,
You'll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace."
You are so patient with me, Lord.

As I walk with You, I'm learning what Your grace really means.
The price that I could never pay was paid at Calvary.
So, instead of trying to repay You, I'm learning to simply obey You
By giving up my life to you For all that You've given to me.

[Chorus:]
I ask you: "How many times will you pick me up,
When I keep on letting you down?
And each time I will fall short of Your glory,
How far will forgiveness abound?"
And You answer: "My child, I love you.
And as long as you're seeking My face,
You'll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace."

Monday, May 11, 2015

Immeasurably More

Now to him who is able to immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us.”
(Ephesians 3:20)

We have been incredibly blessed. By our great God of abundance working through some amazingly gracious people who have gone above and beyond our imaginations.

Last year, Daniel's speech therapist in Colorado was 110% committed to helping him make progress in his mother tongue of Chinese, after his speech came back and our silent little boy became a talker again. She even researched and printed out articles for us on speech therapy in the Chinese language so that all of us could know how to help him more. Because of her unparalleled commitment to Daniel during our two months of intense therapy for him, I cried when we said goodbye at his last speech therapy session. She surpassed any ideas we might have had of how therapists could help Daniel make progress while we were in the US.

Last month, a physical therapist friend in Shanghai volunteered her services by giving Daniel a PT assessment. And she organized two other assessments for him at her clinic, all conducted for him completely in Chinese, which was a great blessing! We had a skype call with the psychologist today to go over her 9 page report detailing Daniel's cognitive delays, and were grateful and amazed by the help that God has provided for us through professionals with such wonderful hearts to serve and to help us better understand Daniel's issues and needs. 

We had a picnic with our friend Lis after she gave Daniel his PT assessment

Daniel's Occupational Therapy assessment

Last week, we were blessed by a skype call with the directors of a concurrent enrollment public high school program with Pikes Peak community college in Colorado Springs. They were so encouraging and positive about helping Jordan to enroll in this program for her last year of high school, going above and beyond anything we could have expected. We truly felt overwhelmed with the way that God is going before and beside in our transition back to the US, by providing people to bless and support us.

You can do this. I am with you. And will help you. Every step of the way.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Best of All

Thinking this would be good to read on Mother's Day, this morning I picked up The Best of All by Gien Karssen (1982). About the Proverbs 31 woman, she writes: “This passage reveals a God who wants each one of us, with our abilities and in spite of our shortcomings, to be our best for him.”

“To become the jewel she is meant to be, a woman must completely accept God's offer of eternal life through Jesus Christ. She will enjoy happiness and true freedom in proportion to how much she yields herself to him.”

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.” (1 Peter 3: 3-4)


“How beautiful, how grand and liberating this experience is, when couples learn so to help each other. It is impossible to over-emphasize the immense need men have to be really listened to.” (Paul Tournier in To Understand Each Other)

“If I could give one piece of advice to young brides, and only one, it would be this: study your man.” (Mrs. Norman Vincent Peale in The Adventure of Being a Wife)


“Discouragement looms ahead of a man daily. Therefore, a man needs a woman with whom he can share his feelings of failure. She must not let him down in adversity, but must keep believing in him even when his own courage fails and he is about to give up. He needs a companion who will remain faithful to him through thick and thin.”

Give to others, and God will give to you. Indeed, you will receive a full measure, a generous helping, poured into your hands—all that you can hold. The measure you use for others is the one that God will use for you.” (Luke 6:38, Good News Bible)

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:4-5)

A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.” (Proverbs 12:4)

“We reveal much about ourselves through our attitude toward work, and the Proverbs 31 woman demonstrates a positive, energetic enjoyment of life. Her happiness and joy are no doubt based on a secure relationship with God, for joy and security go together. The happiness and energy of her life mean she is at peace with herself. A woman cannot be happy unless she accepts herself and her situation.

Joy and strength are strongly related to gratitude, which is another mental attitude necessary for victorious living. Gratitude can be cultivated—it has little to do with possessions. Some people possess much but still grumble for more. Others have very little, but seem to bubble over with gratefulness.”

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13)

Where there is no vision the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18, KJV) vision = “redemptive revelation of God” (AMP)

“Having vision means learning to visualize the overall purpose of your life and work, understanding the importance and significance of your existence, believing that who and what you are is by divine appointment, and trusting that you can influence history for God in the situation he has you in.”

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24)

“The counsel and instruction of the Proverbs 31 woman are marked by skillful and godly wisdom and kindness. She apparently knows not only why, but also how and when to speak with heavenly wisdom that is “first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:17)

“More than revealing to us the life of an extraordinary woman, this passage reveals to us the magnificence of God and what he can do with a woman who first yields to him. Through her, his invitation comes to each one of us: “Dear woman, won't you be the best of all to me?”

Friday, May 8, 2015

Coming Home to Gaoli Village

Last week we were in Gaoli Village for one of the big memorial festivals, this one in honor of the founder of their Muslim Sufi order. While Charly has been able to attend most of the big memorial festivals since we moved to Gansu (this was his 9th), it had been two years since our whole family (minus CJ) had taken part. It felt a bit like coming home.

I thought about what Life in the Village was like for us when we first moved to Gaoli in the spring of 2012 for Charly's PhD field research. My realization of how much we had when we were around people who had so little.

And pictures of More Faces of the amazing people who live there.

They taught me so much about community and unity: The Good That I See


I was reminded of my feeling of awe the first time I took part in the Feeding of the 5000.

I thought about Jordan's Life in the Village and her first impressions with meeting new friends and her feeling at home from the very beginning.

As I watched Joshua serve alongside the young men at the festival this time, I thought about what those experiences have taught him: Joshua's Life in the Village.

I thought about My Life in the Village, and my sense of identity while I'm there.

I reflected on how warm and hospitable the people in the village have been toward us:

warmly welcomed by our host Mr. Ma, on the right

the current Sheik of the Sufi order serving us

Charly shaking hands with one of the elders of the village





my friend, the younger sister of the Sheik

I thought about my experience of talking with a 15 year old girl in the village two years ago and the Closed Doors she was facing. I wondered what her life was like now.

And I remembered my health struggles while we lived with our host family and how difficult that was for me, because of my longing To Be Understood.

In the beauty of God's creation, I thought about the blessing of being surrounded by nature in the village, where Life Grows.

We don't know when we will have a chance to be back in the village again, but we do know how much God loves the people there. And we trust that He will watch over and care for them just as He does the crops that are beginning to grow.

Charly looking out at Gaoli Village

new corn plants

two neighborhood girls who were excited to see us again




LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...