Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pray for Ukraine

Tom and I visited Kiev, Ukraine many times during the five years we lived in Russia. Often we would stay for 2 or more weeks at a time for Tom to teach there and for us to renew our Russian visas. Our youngest son, Spencer, lived there for a year. We have friends there. We know missionaries serving there now that attended language school with us in Russia.  Last night several of our friends were posting on Facebook about the young man in the photo.  He was 20 years old and was killed by the police. Protests have been going on in Ukraine since November. But, last night they turned deadly.

You can read about the violence here:

CNN:   Ukraine protest movement: At least 4 killed in clashes with police

Reuters: Ukraine opposition say they'll brave bullets after talks with Yanukovich fail

Washington Post: Ukraine’s protests are back. Here’s why.

Buzzfeed: World Economic Forum Drops Ukrainian Prime Minister As Protesters Die In Kiev

I won't print anyone's name, but, one friend said that things are getting worse and not better.  One said that it is very scary there.  One friend reported that television signals had been turned off and fears that they will lose their internet connection as well.  And yet another said that their only hope is in Christ and the prayers of believers.  All we can do from afar is watch and pray.  Please pray with us for Ukraine, her government, and her people.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

treasures of darkness...

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Along the journey of life there are treasures in darkness and there are riches to be gleaned.  Late one night back in November I was feeling like there was very little light in my life. I was grieving over some personal losses, feeling like there was not much hope, and was unable to sleep. God spoke to me in the midst of my sorrow and out of that darkness came the treasure of a song.

I made a recording that night so that I would not forget the tune. And then I got a little bolder and sent that rough recording to a music producer for Roots and Honor Records here in Belize. Tom and I met with him a few days later and during that meeting the producer, Mervin, encouraged and challenged me to write more songs.  We met again last week and I sang him several of the songs that I've written over the past few months.  It was nerve-wracking and exhilarating at the same time to sit there, vulnerable, just my voice and my words, baring my soul before the people in the room. However, I am thrilled to be able to say that we will begin working on my first CD in February!  

My precious daughter-in-love sent me the above verse after she heard that my word for this year is Hard.  I am so grateful for the prayers and encouragement to look for the treasures inside the challenges of life that I face.  It is because of this verse that I can look back at November and see that out of a very rough patch came the beginning of the realization of  lifelong dream.  I started singing in church when I was 10 years old.  I've been performing for 40 years. After experiencing the absolute joy of singing at Spencer and Meesha's wedding reception I knew that I wanted to do more with music while I still have a voice left to sing with.  I am so grateful for all that brought me to this point.  

Do you want to know the title of the song I wrote that dark night in November?  It's called 'He's Still There'. And let me tell you...He is still here, right beside me, guiding me every step of the way!

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

honey from the rock...

I've had this verse from Psalm 81 on my mind for a while now.  The thought of getting honey from a rock fascinates me.  After reading more about this I've learned that this a reference to honey hidden in the crevices of rocks by wild bees.  And the only way to find it is by listening to the sound of the bees.  That tidbit of info aids me in understanding the verse.

Let's put it in context:

"If My people would be listen to Me, if Israel would follow My ways, how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!  Those who hate the LORD would cringe before Him, and their punishment would last forever.  But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.  Psalm 81:13-16

There is a reward for listening to God.  Listening to God brings us in line with His plans.  Being in line with His plans brings out the blessings He has to offer.  I'm not suggesting that we obey only to get something from Him. I'm focused on the treasure of intimacy...the sweetness of relationship...that comes from time spent making Him a priority.  Only He can satisfy the longings, the heart desires, the need for oneness and completion that I have. To me, He is the honey hidden in the rock.  And I am determined to listen for His voice and fall in step with His plans and follow Hard after Him.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

One Word...Hard.

I  haven't made New Year's resolutions in a very long time.  There was a period where my only resolutions were to live, love, and laugh.  Three things that I knew I could do without fail. But, since the end of 2010, myself and several friends have prayed and listened to God's voice for one word to meditate on and learn from throughout the year.  

In  2011 my word was Joy:
After a year of grieving over leaving Russia unexpectedly I felt God promise that we would experience His joy.  We opened up a counseling center with CDF, Tom began teaching at Belize Bible Center, and we found our current church home at Bethel Disciples International Church.  We had Tom's parents come and visit us and late in the year Spencer lived with us before moving on to work at the YWAM base not far from our home. It was a joy-filled year of making friends and planting roots in our new home.   

In 2012 my word was Surrender: 
After receiving confirmation in late 2011 that all of our boxes containing our personal items and mementos were stolen, along with several thousand dollars of money we paid to have them shipped, it was time to learn how to surrender it all. It was a year of drawing closer to Him and realizing how many areas of my life I had yet to give over completely to Him. 

In 2013 my word was Embrace:
There were many highlights and a few lowlights to my year of Embrace. Tom's first group of students graduated from the two year Christian Counseling program at Belize Bible Center. I was one of those graduates. We were thrilled to have time in India with our youngest before his wedding to our new daughter-in-love, Meesha Sharp!  Embracing the fact that both of our children have left home for good to make their own way in the world.  Embracing each lesson, each hurt, each thrill, each adventure as the year progressed.  We even embraced turning 50 with a short trip to Paris before going to India for the wedding! 

For 2014 my word is Hard:
My desire for this year is to be intentional about following follow Hard.I feel led to love Hard, pray Hard, seek Hard...and so on.  I know that God will have some unexpected lessons and blessings along the way.  And I'm eager to learn what 2014 holds!