Friday, September 25, 2009

Moldova Boxes - the end?

With hope, trust, gratitude and joy, our team packed 31 boxes - over 800 kg, nearly a ton - of goods donated for the people in Moldova with whom we'd be spending a week in early August. Those boxes were taken to the shipper and on July 24th began their journey which only God foreknew. If you followed this blog during our time in Moldova, you know that the boxes had not arrived by the time our team did and were not released by the time we left.

Yesterday, September 24th is the day those same 31 unopened boxes returned to the room in which they were packed! Following is a note written by our team member whose steadfast commitment to the boxes was given with grace and determination - an effort our team only minimally comprehends. She shared these words to communicate her final chapter of this drama.
Hello Everyone,
The boxes are back, safe and sound in Kerrville! This morning I headed to Houston to get them. It is hard to think that 2 months ago today I made the same trek to drop off the boxes. This has been a long and trying experience. I wanted to let the team know, from me, that I appreciate all the support, encouragement, patience, and prayers that I have been shown as I have worked to resolve this situation.

The original intent for these boxes was to bring gifts to the Moldovan people and although that mission has yet to be accomplished I believe that God used these boxes to accomplish a different goal among us. While in Moldova we were able to see how it was His presence not the presents we brought that the children desired. Once we arrived back in the states He continued to use these boxes to teach/remind me of how sovereign and unfailing He is and how His plans are better than our own.

In closing, when we were in Moldova someone told me, "One day we will be able to look back at this and laugh.", well I am not quite there yet but hopefully one day soon.

Thanks again for everything,
It is a relief to have this gnarled episode finally resolved but many unanswered questions linger. In the days and weeks ahead each member of our team will prayerfully ponder what we are to learn from this experience. It will not be wasted work if we allow God's creative redemption plan to guide us into an even closer commitment to Him and a deeper dependence on His sufficiency.

How sweet to have experienced first hand the truth of

Proverbs 19: 21
Many are the plans in a man's heart,
but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.
So we give thanks for the safe return of these boxes and pray for wisdom as we decide what to do with the contents which await the revelation of their Divine Purpose.

And may I not soon forget the freedom that comes without the encumbrance of "stuff" - even stuff with noble, worthwhile intent.
August 6 - 16, 2010
Pray about your participation!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11...

My family and I lived in NYC from January 1976 - November 1979. We were taken to the World Trade Center by a friend who worked for the NYC Port Authority. Because of his employment, our tour of the tower included some background scenes and information to which I now wish I had paid better attention. But I remember well the moment I walked to the windows of the restaurant on the 107th floor and looked down! My whole body trembled as my mind was moved to ponder a series of "What ifs".
  • What if there were no window and wall here?
  • What if this window broke and I fell from here?
  • What if the elevator breaks and we have to walk all the way down?
  • What if I worked here and came here everyday?
  • What if something happens while we're up here and we can't get back down?
But the day I was at the top of the World Trade Center, nothing bad happened. I had the joy of looking out over NYC and seeing for miles. I had the exhilaration of coming down so rapidly in the elevator that I lost the awareness of how high I'd been. I had the thrill of experiencing the delight of this man-made wonder which stood in tribute to amazing genius and engineering.

I doubt that during my first visit to the World Trade Center I ever imagined a day when that building would fall in tragedy and horror as the world watched. And on that day eight years ago when those buildings fell, my sense of loss was great!!! I no longer lived there but a son and his wife did so my first call was to him to find out where he was and to make sure he was safe. He answered his phone and assured me that he was safe. He and his wife were on tour with My Brightest Diamond and were not in the city. Next calls were made to friends who lived there. We learned that all our friends were safely accounted for but they were linked to others who were still missing. The church which had been our Brooklyn employer was being used by folks stopped in evacuating traffic beside it on the BQE - Brooklyn Queens Expressway.

So today I remember, with the same emotion that day brought, the impact of the attack of terrorists on American soil. And as I recall the sadness and horror of that day, I lean with strengthening trust on Jesus' words to his disciples:
John 14: 1
"Do not let your hearts be troubled.
Trust in God; trust also in me..."
With gratitude and hope, I continue to serve and trust the God in whom my confidence rests. He has not eliminated evil from our world but He does continue to empower his children with strength to walk through shadowy valleys of death without fear of evil because he is with the sheep of his fold. This truth allows me and all who follow the Good Shepherd to have hearts at peace despite a world in panic.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Celebrating Second Son...

Thirty-six years ago, this was the day after Labor Day. We had been invited to a friend's home for a picnic supper that Labor Day. As I enjoyed the bounty of that feast, I thought I might later be sorry for my indulgence. I was 9 days from the due date of baby #2. So as I awakened in the night with an upset tummy, I was sure it was the meal of the night before. But I was mistaken. It was an 8# 12oz perfectly created baby boy deciding to arrive early!!! He was in a hurry to come but we just made it to the hospital for a nurse assisted entrance. I was mentally prepared to love him but when he was placed beside me and I felt him snuggle close, I was irresistibly taken under his spell. That spell remains strong today despite some teen battles he sought to win.

He, too, chose a godly (though non-Norwegian) wife. Together they operate and think "outside the box." They have a heart for reclamation - people, places - e.g. a Detroit neighborhood - and families. And they challenge complacency, materialism and music done poorly. It's refreshing to be in conversation with them because you are sure to be queried if you seem to be thinking from a stale point of view. They have views not often expressed in American church pews these days. But hearing how they and their friends are grappling with life leads me to think they are people who are making a difference in this world. I'm thankful to have a son who chooses to swim upstream.

So as I rejoice on this son's birthday in God's gift to me through him, I pray that God will continue to be his hope.
Psalm 71: 5-8
For you have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord,
my confidence since my youth.
From birth I have relied on you;
you brought me forth from my mother's womb.
I will ever praise you.
I have become like a portent to many,
but you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise,
declaring your splendor all day long.

Happy Birthday, Son James

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Grandchildren start back to school...

Wearing the uniform of Veritas Classical Christian School , my 4 precious, precocious grandchildren headed off early Sept. 1st for their first day of school this year.
Lots of Norwegian blood is flowing through those mostly blond, blue-eyed children which is a source of delight in our family. But a greater source of joy is the spiritually maturing heart of each child. How grateful I am for a son who chose a godly (Norwegian) wife. That choice provides my grandchildren with both father and mother who lead their family through word and deed with the commitment Joshua stated to the Israelites:
Joshua 24:15
"...choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve,...
But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord."

As my grandchildren and their parents begin this new school year, I offer this prayer for them.
Dear Father,
It is with a heart full of praise to you that I begin this prayer - praise for redemption and grace that provided the way for me to become your child.
How grateful I am that you have given me the desire of my heart and have blessed me with children and grandchildren.
My prayer today is for my oldest son and his family. Lord, you have given me biblical words to express my requests for them. May I be faithful to "...wrestle in prayer for you that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured." May I also "...constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours, and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."
For these parents I pray that they will not allow anyone or anything to take them captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. There are so many unbridled and deceptive philosophies in this society - those that come from media, print and thinkers who have been led astray - build a hedge of protection around this family that they may not become captive to enticing lies.
Your word is full of instruction for children but today I ask you to help my grandchildren not to "...let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." I pray that they will train themselves to be godly, learn obedience as Jesus did and believe with a lifetime of trust that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.
With confidence I claim that
Flowing from tested truth, I desire for my dear ones to be strong and courageous. To not be terrified; to not be discouraged because the Lord their God - who is also my God - will be with them wherever they go - as he has been with me wherever I have gone.
Being in your presence through prayer, is a privilege for which I am deeply grateful. Though physical miles separate me from my family members, there is no distance in order to be in your presence through prayer. Your compassion and mercies are redemptive for me and for all who follow your truth. Thank you, Lord, for caring for my children and grandchildren as they go forth to learn this school year. May their thirst for knowledge be satisfied with truth that honors and glorifies your word.
With trust in the Lord who is faithful to all his promises, Amen