Monday, January 30, 2012

Being grateful for Jenn & Erik...

The dreaded moment would not wait - that moment when happiness and hurt mingled - when my inner struggle between gratitude and grumbling threatened to render me speechless.

I knew it wouldn't be easy.  Saying Good-bye to friends never is.  I thought I would find more than a huge lump in my throat and tears ready to spill from my eyes.   I thought  I would be able to hide my sadness and say some appropriate words to communicate the joy I really do feel.

But all I could muster was a big hug with eyes brimming which held her face and spoke from my heart just how painful their move is for me.

Our church was saying Good-bye yesterday to Erik and Jenn and their 3 precious children.  They're moving to a new assignment and it's rather far away.  I'm excited for them.  They'll be blessed and be a blessing there.  It's God's plan for them.  It's not the end of the world and they'll sometimes come back to visit.  But for some reason, I'm sensing deep personal loss in their decision.

So I've decided to express my gratitude for how they've blessed me in the years I've known them.  With gratitude will come joy.  And joy will help me overcome my selfish feelings - those feelings that would prefer keeping life safe, stable, certain but which are actually devoid of the joys which come from following God's path.

On the altar steps at Jesus Savior Baptist Church in Chisinau, Moldova - August 2006
Erik and Jenn were newly weds when they joined the church staff.  They signed up for our Moldova Mission Team in August 2006.  The day we left that summer was the day the USA went to Code Orange for air travel.  I would learn later that they nearly cancelled trip plans as they fought fear that morning which threatened to overcome their confidence in God's protection for travel but they boarded the flights and carried out God's purpose for that trip.  They added youth, godliness and service to our team.  And God would use precious orphans there to help prepare them for how they would start their own family later through the adoption of two foster babies that joined their family from birth.

So thanks for being part of Moldova Team 2006 Erik and Jenn.  (They are in the upper right of this photo.)

Another element of gratitude comes for Jenn who started a photography business and has provided me with some of my most prized family photos. 

Thanks, Jenn, for studying that craft and being so good that your work brings continual joy for those who see your results.
Four generations over Christmas in 2007

My Mother whose lifetime commitment to Jesus shines through her peaceful expression in this pose.

Three generations over Christmas 2009.
And thanks, Erik and Jenn, for choosing a career that mirrors the path my husband and I chose over thirty years ago.  As I analyze the cause of my emotional feelings as I face your departure, I realize I'm flooded with memories of my own cross country moves.  Even when we felt we were following God's plan for us, we felt pain in the leaving behind of family, good friends and taking a path that was uncertain.  It was never easy to move and start over but our life has been filled with opportunities for spiritual growth and service.  Your move will afford you the same.

The hardest part is leaving.

Arriving will be filled with excitement, freshness and lots of promising possibilities.

I'm happy for you.  And I'm very grateful that Good-bye is not forever!

Maybe your new church will join our church and together we'll take another mission trip to Moldova.  That would be so sweet!  Let's start praying about that!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Gratitude Sharing...

It  is rather rare to have a comment left on my blog.  Perhaps that's because my blogs are rather rare.  It's not that I don't have thoughts, ideas, memories and stories to share.  But for some reason, other things take my time and energy each day and my blog remains my neglected friend.

There is hope that change may happen soon, however.  If that happens it will be because new computers have arrived at our home.  I am now using a new laptop - my first!  And the increased speed and convenience is amazing.  A new desktop is also about to make an appearance and I can hardly wait.  Our old computer is 10 years old and VERY slow.  Perhaps new computers with faster service will assist my slowing body and brain to produce more blogging.  We'll see....
5 Groves' kids in the farm kitchen - Fall/Winter 1950

Back to the subject of comments, however.  I opened my blog today and found that sweet treat that causes a warm smile to creep into my otherwise usual expression.  Someone had left a comment a week ago.  How regretful that I hadn't been back to my blog sooner to notice and read it.

And the reader who left the comment, is not just anyone.  No, the person who left this comment is someone I have known since the day she was born.  I'm holding her in this early photo.  I suspect it is around Christmas time as she was born in early October.  I had just turned six years old and was not yet in school.  I had missed the December 1st cut for first grade as my birthday is on the seventh of the month.  Cross Ridge School did not have kindergarten. 

5 Groves' kids in the farm living room - Spring 1951

I was very happy to have a baby sister and remember often helping with her care.  Our friendship grew from that point on.

We have never lived geographically close to each other as adults, but that has not prevented us from connecting in mutually supportive ways through occasional visits and more frequent calls and emails.

I share here part of the comment left by my baby sister a few days ago:
"One of God's greatest gifts to me is (physically) in Kerrville, TX....but always 'in my heart'.
YOU, dear sister, I am so grateful for. God continually touches my life with His love, support, & encouragement...uniquely packaged in YOU. And that brings me much joy! You welcomed & embraced me at the beginning of my life and continually allow God to use you in my life.
"it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose." Phi. 2:13
"I thank my God every time I remember YOU."
My sister uses words of affirmation to express her love and in the process she brings rich blessings to me.  Her thoughtful sharing provides me with much appreciated encouragement.  Though I don't feel worthy of her confidence, I am thankful for her sincere friendship.  

It is really I who am grateful for a sister who steadfastly shares her life with me.  She is an excellent listener and prayer warrior.  We have strengthened each other as we've shared personal and family needs.  Knowing that she is praying provides a tangible measure of hope for whatever might be a concern of mine.  And to rejoice in answered prayer has been especially sweet.

Gratitude sharing continues...
4.  a sister whose heartbeat is a perfect match for mine
Mom and me in 1945
Mom and Margelyn in 1951

5.  Norwegian heritage from Mom - wearing sweaters made in Norway
6.  Spending time with Mom and being grateful that she still remembers us and her Lord...  2008
7.  Celebrating Marge's 60th birthday with a surprise visit in order to attend a Lori Line concert together... 2010

8.  A surprise visit from Marge which was her Christmas gift from her husband...2011

9.  Enjoying a Laity Lodge Women's retreat with Jeannette Clift George... Priceless... 2011

10.  Sharing the view of the H.E.Butt Foundation Camps from the Wayside Park... 2011

11.  Visiting a niece in Houston and visiting beautiful gardens... 2011

11.  Enjoying RATHER SWEET in Fredericksburg, TX with my sweet sister... 2011
Expressing gratitude as memories flow is providing a steady pulse of God's great gift of faith and family.  I am blessed.  Thanks, Marge, for being my sister and my friend.

Note:  To follow Ann Voskamp and others who have joined The Joy Dare, check out her amazing blog.   Or find Ann's book, 1000 Gifts, to read and learn all about her discovery of the true path to joy.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sharing Multitudes on Mondays...

Jumping in here to begin sharing 1000 Gifts in 2012.  Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience has challenged her friends to Take The Joy Dare and live this year with a greater emphasis on intentional gratitude.  It's a way to see and express ones personal love for the Savior who has given the greatest gift of all time.

And His gifts are everywhere.  When we begin noticing His touch in each of our days, we will be increasingly filled with joy.  I am starting today...

My hand with that precious reminder of the one who chose me and loves me still.
  1. The wedding ring on my left hand - so lovingly chosen, thoughtfully selected and selflessly given to me 45+ years ago.

 2.  The mission display case at my church which draws attention to those who travel internationally to share God's love

A New Year's Letter from Nebraska
3.  a letter from a friend who shared her home with me while my firstborn attended pre-school and has remained dear for nearly 40 years

This is already filling me with memories of life's joys.  

I am filling with gratitude.  

God you are LOVE and JOY.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mission Moldova 2012 Begins to Plan...

We're beginning to plan for a Mission Trip to Moldova in August 2012.
  Interested in being part of the team?  
Read the following and view photos of teams from the past.  
Imagine yourself gathered on the steps of the Gazebo 
with all the children you've learned to love during your week there!  
It's thrilling and amazingly meaningful.  
Summer of 2010 we painted shirts to remember our Bible themes of the week.

Team 2005
Dear Friends of Moldova,
This is a message to provide you with the following information.

·         Moldova 2012 Mission Trip Information Meeting
·         Sunday, January 15, 2012
·         Trinity Baptist Church – Room 208
      800 Jackson Rd 
      Kerrville, TX 78028
·         4:30 – 5:25 PM

The dates for this trip are
July 31 – August 10.

The plan is to return to the same camp we’ve worked at since 2005.
Team 2006

Team 2007
This meeting is open to anyone who wants to explore the possibility of being part of the team this year.  Please invite others who may have an interest but may not be receiving this message or haven’t heard about the meeting in another way.  

If you are interested in more information but are unable to attend the meeting on the 15th, please let me know so that I can keep you informed of plans as they unfold.
Team 2008

If you have an interest in learning about past trips, you can read my blog updates with the label, Sharing Mission Moldova.

Team 2009

If God wants a team to return to Moldova this summer, He will call together a team.  Let’s be in prayer as this process begins.  I await His leading and your response.

Trusting in Him,
Linda L. Worden

Team 2010

Team 2011