Tuesday!

I am thankful to the Lord today for…

  • …a sleeping baby on my lap and another in my belly.
  • …a wonderful, encouraging, long-awaited for email that finally came through yesterday! woohoo!
  • …watching plans unfold like a slowly opening flower – it’s taking awhile to see the whole picture, but it’s going to be just lovely when it finally blossoms!
  • …Elena’s new words and sounds. She can now “meow” like a cat, “roar” like a bear, make a “fish face”, say “thank you, God” at dinnertime, and she tells us “I love you.”
  • …unexpected, but very pleasant news, from a friend this morning. =)
  • …wonderful books like the A.D. Chronicles that are so encouraging, challenging, and just a joy to read.
  • …my students – their quirky, funny personalities and the way they love so openly on my daughter.
  • …a day on Thursday to drive around with Brian and just talk. We had two hours in the car while he ran in and out of stores looking for parts and we talked and talked – it was so nice. We had a lot to talk about apparently!
  • …maternity pants from a friend, bringing my quota up to a whopping 3 pairs! So generous of her and so incredibly comfortable… I just want to live in them (especially compared to today – non-maternity jeans… my pj pants have been calling me since 10am).
  • …seeing little Baby M. kick my tummy last Wednesday for the first time and having Brian feel her kick last night for the first time. Just a few more months left!!
  • …having a doctor who did not yell at me for gaining weight this month.
  • ….having our Wii Fit which is turning out to be a great tool for working out this pregnancy.
  • …turkey and homemade stuffing [you didn’t really think I’d do a “Grateful Tuesday” without mentioning food, did you?]

A Tuesday of Gratitude.

This morning I’m thankful for…

  • …the new little GIRL growing in me!
  • …the chance I had to stay home in the afternoons all last week.
  • …a date day with my husband after he was basically not home for 4 straight days (rare for us).
  • …soft pretzels have arrived in Peru!!
  • …my happy little girl with the infectious personality.
  • …a clean house.
  • …cooler temperatures (finally) so we can enjoy homemade tomato soup and Ecco (Peruvian drink made from barley).
  • …that I am halfway through this pregnancy and feeling absolutely wonderful – to the point where I forget I’m pregnant sometimes (until I get socked from the inside!).
  • …hair long enough for pigtails (after only 19 1/2 months of waiting!):

 

Reconciling with Rwanda.

I’ve been reading a very interesting book entitled The Bishop of Rwanda this past week. I’ve been very interested in the genocide in Rwanda for a few years now. Honestly, I didn’t know it even happened back in ’94 because I was like 11 and world issues just weren’t that important to me then (not to mention it wasn’t covered on our news either!). But, when I became aware of what happened about 8yrs ago, I wanted to understand more. This book has been utterly fascinating and it’s got me thinking about a variety of things.

If you’re not familiar with what happened in Rwanda in May-June 1994, here’s a brief (very brief) idea: Basically, since about the ’60’s, there had been propoganda and inner workings within the country to persecute a people group known as the Tutsis. Finally, in the early ’90’s, the Rwandan government started pushing for a complete genocide. After so many years of basically brain-washing the people into thinking the Tutsis were “cockroaches” and the Hutus were god-like, this was surprisingly easy to accomplish. The President of Rwanda was assassinated and that very evening, the genocide began. For a little over a month (almost two months), the people of Rwanda went crazy and began murdering in viscious, disgusting ways their friends, neighbors, family members, and complete strangers. About a million and a half Tutsis (and some Hutus) were murdered in these very short weeks. The killing continued until approximately 1997 – ambushes on the roads, inside refugee camps in countries like Uganda, etc. Now, almost 20 years later, the country is still healing.

This book is written from a Catholic perspective, but it’s still been quite interesting to read. The author, John Rucyahana, has been working for years inside the country to help restore peace and encourage forgiveness. He explains in detail how this all began and why, what happened during the genocide, and then the repercussions afterwards.

I’ve been reading this book almost exclusively since Friday and yesterday on the way to church, for some reason, it just hit me. We were listening to some music and a version of “How Great Thou Art” came on and I just started sobbing in the car [my poor husband… I couldn’t compose myself to tell him what was going on and he still hasn’t asked!]. All these images of mutilated humans came into my view and then I pictured Christ on the cross. He knew all this was going to happen. He saw it all while He was dying – for those very sins. And I started wondering, “Why do I not have more anger about all this? How is it possible that I can read this book and not think, ‘Justice needs to have been swifter – better!’ Why am I so at peace about all this? This should be rocking my world, making me angry, sick to my stomach, vengeful. But, it’s not. Why am I okay about all this?”

And I realized: “Vengeance is mine. I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Heb. 10:30)

I started getting this mental picture of God that is portrayed in the book of Daniel chapter 7. God Almighty enters as JUDGE of the universe. I think I’ve written about this before on this blog, but I just love the image there in v. 9-10.

I watched as thrones were put in place and the Ancient One sat down to judge. His clothing was as white as snow, his hair like whitest wool. He sat on a fiery throne with wheels of blazing fire, and a river of fire flowed from his presence. Millions of angels ministered to him, and a hundred million stood to attend him. Then the court began its session, and the books were opened.

In the car yesterday, I realized – this is why I’m not angry, worried, or bothered by what happened in Rwanda. Okay,  yes, I’m bothered, but it’s not to where I’m just so angry at this world and wondering where was God and how could He make this happen?!! No, it’s not like that! We live in an evil world. Satan is prince of this world – what do we expect? Sin reigns on this earth. For now. But, God was not absent. If He had been absent, then the number of Tutsis who survived and returned to Rwanda after the genocide would not be more than the number who were killed. If He had been absent, then there would not be amazing stories of survival and heroism. If He had not been present, forgiveness today would not be possible.

He was with the moms whose bellies were cut open. He held them as they watched their unborn children be ripped from their wombs and torn apart before their eyes before they were murdered themselves. He cried with the husbands as they watched their children murdered. He covered the eyes of the young girls who were raped repeatedly with machetes and then left to die. He hid with the ones who survived around corpses, hiding from attackers. He went with the people who were buried alive with tree trunks and rocks. He cried from the heavens.

He agonized on the cross for these very sins. 

No, He is not blind. He is not absent.

Yes, He will judge.

So many are not getting the justice we think they deserve here on earth. Justice that should’ve been handed down swiftly and mercilessly years ago is still in the process today. This isn’t right by any standard. However, this earth – justice here – is not the end all. The Ancient One will judge. Those deeds are recorded in His book and one day, that book will be opened and they will have no where to run, no where to hide, no one to blame. Every name, every atrocity, every crime against humanity has been recorded meticulously.

God has taken note and He does not forget. 

This knowledge, and this alone, makes atrocities like the genocide in Rwanda bearable. If there was no ultimate Judge, if there would be no final consequences, then yes, we would have reason to be upset and vengeful. But knowing that God will take care of it all, makes life bearable and forgiveness possible.

This applies to even the most “trivial” of issues we have in every-day life. The person that wrongs us. The one who steals from us. The injustices thrown at us from every direction. We can deal with these things and forgive these people because we have the full assurance that God is on His throne and He will take care of it all. As much as it depends on us, we are to live peaceably with everyone (Rom. 12:18). The rest is not up to us. It’s up to the Ancient One.

And that’s okay with me.

Grateful For…

Yup, I missed a week. Oh well – here’s my list for the last couple of weeks then!

  • A “date day” with my family. We went to our favorite place (Chili’s, of course) and had a lovely lunch. They added to their menu which is always a great surprise. 🙂 We had a nice afternoon walking around the (absurdly busy) mall afterwards.

  • Brian finally decorated Elena’s room. He made all these butterflies and flowers before she was born, but circumstances as they were, he didn’t get to hang them up. But, it worked out fine. She’s old enough to enjoy them now and enjoy them she does! They make me happy when I go in her room.

  • We had a Mom’s lunch for all the moms I work with and my good friend, Zarela, was there! She moved to the jungle a month ago and was home for the weekend. It was wonderful – absolutely wonderful – spending a few hours catching up with her (no kids or husbands to interrupt either!).

  • Mother’s Day wasn’t the best day I’ve ever had, but it was pretty good. Brian did his best to try to make it special and in the end, it was nice, despite all the blecky stuff in the middle. I’m thankful I got to celebrate Mother’s Day at all. There’s just nothing like being a Mom.
  • We got a box from my parents last week (courteous of visitors who flew down) and it had basically all the clothes I need to get Elena through winter. Phew! Such a blessing!
  • Fall is not quite here, but it’s getting close. I’m thankful for chamomile tea with honey and homemade chicken and dumplings for supper.
  • This week, I’m not teaching in the afternoons and it’s like a giant, enormous burden has been lifted from my shoulders. I had SO MUCH FUN yesterday and I get to do it each day for more than a week! I like being home with my baby.
  • My husband bought me the next 3 books in my favorite series for my Kindle for Mother’s Day. *love*
  • The free download of Kelly Minter’s “The Fitting Room”. So good.

 

Mother’s Day.

I saw this online today and thought it was wonderful. Mother’s Day, for me, used to be very difficult – back when Brian and I just weren’t at the place (physical location or financial security) to have children and then when we did want children, we weren’t sure I could get pregnant. Now, Mother’s Day is a blast… but it’s not like that for everyone. There are people very, very close to me who dread this holiday – and for good reason. So, this is for them, you know who you are. You are loved, appreciated, and worthwhile. Bearing a child in your body does not make you a woman and there is more than one way to be a mom to others.

“To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you

To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you

To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you

To those who experienced loss this year through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you

To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.

To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you

To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you

To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit with you

To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you

To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience

To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst

To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you

And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you

This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.”

 

*Find the full post here: http://messymiddle.com/2012/05/10/an-open-letter-to-pastors-a-non-mom-speaks-about-mothers-day/

Choosing Gratitude.

I got side-tracked today and ended up reading a bunch of my old blog entries. I had forgotten that I used to do “Grateful Tuesday.” I’m not savvy enough to link myself to any other blogs; it was just something I did on my own. I think I might start that up again. So, today, I will choose to be grateful and I thought I’d share a few of these things with you. We’ll see how long I can keep up “Grateful Tuesday” this year.

Our gas for the shower ran out today. This may not sound like something to be thankful for, but really, it’s the fact that it JUST ran out TODAY that is note-worthy. We change our gas like clockwork every month. We have never gone more than a month and a half on the same tank of “shower gas.” This time our shower gas went a solid four months. We changed the gas for our oven twice in that time frame. We are 100% positive this was a miracle. No other explanation. Thank you, Lord, for our seemingly never-ending gas! It was a true blessing to not have that expense the entire summer.

This little one started moving to where I could feel it yesterday! Actually, technically, I think I felt it last Wednesday, but yesterday, there was no doubt in my mind! So exciting.

My other little munchkin is a super blessing – something I’m thankful for every day, regardless of the snot nose, the tantrums, and the blatant disobedience. Just last night, I looked at Brian and said again, “I don’t know what we ever did without her!

[The rest of my list is pictureless…]

  • The school year has gotten off to a good start. I have three helpers and a greatly diminished work load.
  • I am involved in a Bible study for North American women (only 2 of us are missionaries) that I love, love, love. I even got to lead it last week!
  • The nausea of the pregnancy seems to have [finally] passed.
  • We are, like I said, in a transition phase and it seems like we’re getting closer to answers. They may not be exactly what I wanted, but as I’ve been reading in some devotional books lately, obedience doesn’t mean you’re thrilled and ecstatic about it. It just means you love the Lord and want to serve Him. We aren’t called to LOVE what God is telling us to do and THEN do it. We’re called to obey because we love. I’m getting there. Slowly, but surely. I’m getting there.
  • My husband who lets me scream and cry and get mad about transitioning and then calmly says, “I’m not going to leave you. It’ll be okay” every single time.
  • The sermon series by Max Lucado we’re listening to right now entitled “You’ll Get Through This.” If you need something super encouraging, look it up online (oakhillschurch.com) and download the entire series. It’s on Joseph and well worth your time. “I’ll get through this. It won’t be easy and it won’t be quick, but I know that God will use this mess for good…”
  • And at this very moment – I’m thankful for a super (almost above and beyond super) quiet house – a baby asleep on my lap and one growing in my belly, students working quietly on their schoolwork in the corner, the smell of, what is that, potatoes? drifting through my window, and the sounds of a distant lawn mower. It’s just really soothing to the soul.

May 2012
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