The Blessing

“Throughout the Scriptures, we find a keen recognition of the power and importance of words.  In the very beginning God spoke and the world came into being (Gen. 1:3).  When he sent us His Son to communicate His love and complete His plan of salvation, it was His Word that “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).  God has always been a God who communicates His blessing through words.”  -The Blessing

A little over a week ago I finished reading, The Blessing, Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance, by John Trent & Gary Smalley.  The book was a gift from my mother-in-love, and to be honest I was a little skeptical before I began to read.  I have always tried to be intentional with my words, and use them in ways to build people up rather than tear down.  A book about love and acceptance should probably be given to someone who is low on the compassion scale, not someone whose husband once told her she could be a professional mourner because of her ability to empathize well with others (true story I may share with you later).

Shortly into the first chapter my perspective changed.  The pages of this book are filled with stories and practical application to living life to the fullest, and loving others intentionally.  The primary focus of the book relates to a parent and how they use their words to speak blessing into the lives of their children.  Page after page caused me to anticipate the arrival of our child.  I am overwhelmed that the Lord has chosen Trey and I to be His mouth piece for speaking words of blessing and love to His little one for the years to come.  This book has opened the door to quite a few conversations about how we plan to practically love this little guy to the fullest and point Him towards our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Not only has The Blessing been a great stepping stone for conversations between Trey and I, but it also led me to look at our marriage relationship.

Even after 3 short years of marriage, “routine” living can become very easy.  Doing life side by side Trey is one of the greatest gifts the Lord has ever given me, and I desire to never take that for granted.  However, as days turn into weeks, and weeks into months, etc. the ways our love and acceptance for one another are exhibited can take on different forms.  The past few weeks of reading The Blessing were a sweet reminder of how important it is to love my husband, and tell him that in very practical ways.  I long to use my words in a way to esteem my man, encourage him as he leads our family, and to ensure, no doubt about it, I am head over heels in love with him!

This is intentional living, giving the blessing.  It is not easy, and it certainly does not happen overnight.  Engaged, newly married, future parents, parents of grown children, married for centuries, whatever your season I would HIGHLY recommend picking this book up and giving it a read.  Let’s use our words and live intentionally in a way that gives a blessing to those the Lord has given us the gift to know.

 

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Many Parts

Our life in Haiti has brought a whole new perspective to 1 Corinthians 12.  As Paul addresses the church of Corinth he clearly teaches that the body of Christ is composed of many parts.  Each part plays a specific role, and is just as important as the other.  1 Corinthians 12:19, “If they were all one part, where would the body be?”  Great question Paul, a body does not exist without its many parts.  Today, the missionary staff ladies of BHM were able to participate in a wonderful afternoon that was a sweet reminder of how good it is to be a part of the body of Christ.

A group of ladies serving alongside a ministry in Port-au-Prince hosted a Spa Day today for missionary ladies in the area.  Needless to say, it was a huge success.  We were spoiled with pedicures, manicures, lunch, and HAIRCUTS!

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In the midst of all the pampering, precious fellowship among sisters took place throughout the afternoon.  Thank you Deb from House of Hope for hosting such a wonderful event!

 

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Last, but DEFINITELY not least, a huge thank you to Debbie for all the many new hair styles you gave throughout the day!

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Haircuts in Haiti are hard to come by.  Your typical U.S. beauty salon does not exist.  It is for this reason when a beautician comes in country that she quickly becomes the talk of the town!  Perhaps when you think of “international missions” manicures and hair styles are not the first thing that come to mind as to how to serve.  Think again, this is a HUGE ministry.  The Lord has called us ALL to “GO” and be a part of His work among the nations.

Mechanics, Beauticians, Teachers, Carpenters, etc.  He can use all of us, what a gift to be part of His body!

What about you?  What skill has the Lord blessed you with?  As unique or perhaps ordinary as it may feel, you are important and He wants to use you!

Thank you House of Hope and Virginia team for taking treating us today, we appreciate you!

P.S  If you are a beautician or interested in finding ways to connect with missionary ladies in Haiti, I would love to hear from you.  Let’s connect and dream up ways you too can join us here in Haiti for a bit to engage the culture, serve the people, and discover how the Lord is working around the world.  Let me know if you’re interested!

 

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Lessons From a Growing Gut

Towards the end of last week I officially passed the halfway point of our first pregnancy.  For the first time on this entire journey I was hit smack in the face with fear and uncertainty over entering the world of motherhood.  What am I doing?!

After a fair amount of crocodile tears, long hugs from the hubby, and a good bit of rest, I am proud to say this “momma to be” is ready to persevere.  Although I am only halfway through pregnancy, and not even close to mastering motherhood, my mind is flowing with what I would like to call “Gut Lessons.”

These are the moments, great and small, this growing abdomen of mine is teaching me.  It is my sincere prayer to finish this pregnancy, and finish it well.  So, in honor of NCIS, and Special Agent Gibbs (my husband and mother-in-law should be proud) I wanted to share a few things my “gut” has taught me so far.  I’m sure there will be more “Gut Lessons” in the days to follow.  Here’s today:

1.  I am not in control. –Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.  Before you were born I set you apart. -Jeremiah 1:5a.

Nowhere within this verse does it tell me that I am the one forming our baby.  It is the Lord who is forming our little man.  It is the Lord who already knows him and has set him apart.  I have never been accused of having to be in control, in fact, I prefer others to have control because I can’t stand the pressure.  But, in the midst of carrying this precious child, I have begun to feel an extreme need for control.  Admittedly, this is not the best time to begin desiring control.

A time where I cannot seem to control much of anything, fatigue, emotions, weight gain, do I need to continue?  Oh the irony!  Praise the Lord, HE has control of me and this precious unborn life.

2.  Family First.  –A wife of noble character who can find?  She is worth far more than rubies.  Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value…Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. -Proverbs 31:10-11, 28

A wife of noble character is not described as a woman who sits around worrying about tomorrow, complaining of today, and crying over yesterday.  Her husband and children value her because she cares for them.  These past few months have shown me first hand what an affect my choices have on my husband and my child.

Everything from food cravings (choosing nutrients for our little man) to exercise (seeking to keep a positive mood for my husband) all have a HUGE affect on my family.  Part of learning to put my family first is taking care of myself in the ways that matter.  The Lord has entrusted me with some guys who need me and I desire to seek Him first in order to meet the daily needs of my family.

3.  I am NOT alone…Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked before us. –Hebrews 12:1  (Note: Take some time to read this passage in its entirety and rejoice in the life, death, and resurrection of our Savior!)

“You are alone…”  This lie presents itself to me in a variety of ways on a regular basis.  It has chosen to creep it’s way in at inopportune times over the past several months.  It is a daily choice to place myself in situations to counteract this falsehood.  The Lord uses a variety of relationships as well as truth from His Scripture to help me combat this terrible distraction.  I’m not the first to be found shaking in her boots at times over stepping into the world of motherhood, and I will not be the last!  What a blessing to run this race alongside others and learn from those who have gone before.

4.  Remember to breathe.“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

Embrace the quiet moments, be intentional at finding ways to truly let your mind rest, be still, and be OK being still.  I know there will come a day when I will long for time to sit and breathe.  However, at times resting can be quite the difficult task.  Aint nobody gonna be doing any good if I keep running and forget to breathe.  Today’s a gift, may I seek to enjoy it and breathe through it.

Here’s to being halfway to somewhere…I’ll let you know next time this ‘ol gut speaks!

 

 

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Sunday Smiles

Psalm 118:24-  This is the DAY the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!

-Surprise flowers from my husband, just because…

-An ice-cold glass of orange juice to begin the day.

-Morning worship, the gift of witnessing others come to know the Lord.

-Singing songs of praise, with baby resting comfortably in the womb.

-Kisses, hand shakes, and best wishes for a good week in the Lord as we depart from cooperate worship.

-Long, flowing skirts that move just right in the cool summer breeze.

-Sunday picnic after monthly missionary staff meeting.

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-Uncontrollable laughter meant to be shared.

-Couches made for napping in a still and quiet house.

-Content hearts due to a wonderful Creator who deserves our praise.

These are but a few things that have led me to rejoice and be glad today.  What are two or three things you are rejoicing in today?

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Different Packaging

“Eat your carrots, they are good for your eyes and will help you see…”

This phrase can be heard said in kitchens around the world as mothers try to convince their kids to eat the hard orange veggie.  Did you know, carrots contain beta-carotine, which the body converts to Vitamin A, an important nutrient for eye health?  Perhaps my mom and many others have been onto something.

Why all this carrot talk?

Since moving to Haiti I have said goodbye to the world of perfectly prepared, pre-packaged baby carrots in the local grocery store. I have said hello to dirt covered, mis-shaped, variety sized carrots from the local market.  The picture at the top of the page are a few carrots I recently purchased from the market.  Not quite the grocery store perfection I grew up eating.  After many months of receiving my less than cookie-cutter perfect carrots I began to wonder, is this what carrots look like in the U.S. when they are pulled straight from the ground?

Don’t judge, it’s an honest question from someone who has not been around her fair share of “carrot planters.”  I took this question to the most logical place:  www.kidsgrowingstrong.org, a kid friendly website with loads of gardening advice.  After a few minutes of very strenuous carrot studies, I am convinced of one thing, a carrot is a carrot is a carrot.

You can plant a carrot in the U.S., Haiti, or anywhere else for that matter, and it will always be a carrot.  Pretty simple, huh?  This “Veggie Lesson” is also a good reminder of another very foundational truth:

People are people are people.  Granted, we all have “different packaging” but, we were ALL created in the image of God with the same basic needs (Gen. 1:27).

Our time in Haiti has helped me see this truth on a whole new level.  I have stepped out of a world of English speaking, Cheese-Burger eating, Football loving Americans.  I now function daily in a world of Creole speaking, Rice & Bean eating, Soccer (Football) loving Haitians.  A people whose packaging is different, yet we are the same.

Just this morning I was talking to a few Haitian women who were intrigued by the fact that I was indeed going to have our baby here in Haiti.  They were excited to learn I would deliver our baby very similar to how they had their children, and that he would be “Haitian.” This led to a time of each woman sharing about her particular delivery experience, the early days with their baby at home, and on and on, you know how moms can be.

As the conversation concluded, my heart delighted as that simple conversation helped me continue to see through our different cultures  and into the lives of my sisters in Haiti.

Some days the challenges of Haiti are difficult to see through.  But, as our relationships are strengthened and we continue to learn, I am humbly aware that we are all just a bunch of carrots.

I guess moms have been right for all these years, carrots really do help us see clearer!

Below: My carrots after a good bit of work, mmm mmm good!

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