Present to Help

I love to teach children’s classes at church. I would not say I am all that talented for it, but it is a pleasure of mine. I did not regularly go to church until I was 10, but  I had a Beginner’s Bible when I was just learning to read. I remember the stories coming alive. I remember dreaming, hoping and praying that God would call me special like He did Hannah, Samuel and Mary, but especially like Elijah and Jonah with whom I identify with most. Sharing those stories is so much fun for me.

A few stories stuck out to me most, Elijah with the prophets of Baal, Hannah and her encounter with Eli, Jonah and his fish-belly repentance, and a man of palsy who had faithful friends bring him to Jesus through a roof. The last one always baffled me, how those friends were so decisive that they interrupted the teachings of Jesus and opened up the tiles on a roof to lower a lame man down in front of large group of followers, literally putting themselves in the center of attention.

But as I prepared this week’s Sunday School lesson, something entirely new about that last story came to life to me. In Luke 5:17 the story is just beginning, “And it came to pass on a certain day, as  {Jesus} was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.”

The stage is set for this miracle to occur, and the scene is full of wealthy, well educated, able-bodied people. And the Power of the Lord was present to heal them. These men must have been intimidating in their proper religious robes and meticulous manners. And God Himself came, able to heal them.

What an incredible missed opportunity when they did not seek Him. When the humbled, uninvited lame man and his faithful friends arrived, they stopped Jesus with their act of faith. These men found more than the physical healing they were searching for, but also the forgiveness of their sins over their act of faith.

I found myself in awe over this story from my childhood all over again. God is so merciful, gracious, and kind. He was right there, able and willing to heal those in attendance, but so few sought what God had to offer. I wonder how often Jesus had something for me, but I was too busy, prideful or afraid to seek the possibilities.

 

Addy’s 7th Birthday

It is so cliche to say that time flies, but sometimes it is the only phrase that comes to mind. My oldest child, Addy, is 7 years old and it is amazing how much a little person can change in that amount of time.

This angel is my kindred spirit in so many ways, and challenges me at every turn. I told her the other day that she is teaching me how to be a mommy. I still have an incredible journey ahead of me, but we are making headway with lightning speed. The last 7 years has been full of excitement. The two of us learning how to work together is interesting enough, but Addy has followed us to 35 States, Canada and moved to another continent.

Addy is blessed with good health, a quick mind and lofty ambitions. I feel insecure sometimes that I am not doing or being enough for my children, but my husband is quick to defend me to me and I rest in my faith that Jesus will fill in the gaps they need. She and I are are trying to make the most of this short time-frame called childhood, singing, baking, cooking, sewing, crafting, hiking and cuddling.

Here are a few pictures of the birthday girl!

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Of all the hobbbies and titles this little one enjoys, I think ‘Big Sister’ is a favorite!

The bottom photo Addy is rehearsing for my brother’s wedding, she was a very eager flower girl for a 1 year old!

Apprentices

English: A young girl peering over her sunglasses.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I stared at my daughter, completely baffled, today.  “Is there anything I can help with, Mommy?”  That’s not a baby talking, that is a GIRL. So crazy! I remember being a little girl, and not long ago.  This made me realize how important my most recent discovery is.  God has given me a responsibility to train my children to be adults. The way I see it, I have a live in apprentice.

 

 

 

Do I want my daughter to be just like me? Not really. I want her to be kind, honest, a hard worker, and most of all, I want her to love Jesus.  I’d like to say that I am those things, but I want my daughter to exceed me in those areas.

 

 

 

How the apprenticeship mindset has helped me:

 

 

 

1. It helps me remember that my actions help shape her, for better or for worse. She is going to mimic me, so I must think before acting.

 

 

 

2. I am more proactive in involving her in my activities.  I talk her though tasks and whenever possible, let her get her hands involved.

 

 

 

3. My daughter will know she is a woman. Women are awesome and I want her to be well-rounded so she can do absolutely anything God calls her to do.

 

 

 

4. She is not in the way. She is supposed to be there, since she is in training.  She needs to learn to be ware of the stove and such, but chores are not just chores, they are bonding times! No, its not all fun and games, but we are still relationship building and the point of projects is no longer just to finish them. Every project has a side of character building. *I have also been using homemade safe cleaners for this reason*

 

 

 

5. She has developed a servant’s heart. Jesus Christ came to the earth to serve, and He is our Great Example of selflessness and service. There is no greater blessing than to be a servant. If I demonstrate this, and she copies it while at home with me, maybe it will come more naturally for her when she is grown.

 

 

 

6. I am also developing as a person! When your children start acting like you, you really get a good look at yourself! The first habit I kicked was, “yeah.” I answered that religiously instead of, “yes,” like a normal person. I have also refined my table manners, and my obedience. Yes, my obedience. I question everything! When my husband makes a decision sometimes it is necessary to interject as the wife and mother, but I should not question everything. I was setting a bad example.  There are other things, but no need to point out all my faults in one post ;)

 

 

 

These things also apply to my younger son, but mostly, my husband has taken him under his wings. We are very blessed to have a lifestyle where my husband spends a great deal of time with us. Traveling is not always easy, but God has blessed us with countless benefits that make up for it!

 

 

 

Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre

English: Skulls of victims from the Rwandan Ge...

English: Skulls of victims from the Rwandan Genocide found at the Nyamata Memorial. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre.

 

There are events around the world that we in the West just cannot comprehend.  I had briefly heard about the Rwandan Genocide after it happened, but since I was young I did not take it to heart.  My husband and I surveyed 4 different African countries and had the opportunity to visit Rwanda.  To us, the country was a place to visit and we were considering whether God would have us move there, but the Genocide was the farthest thing from our mind. The director with our mission board arranged for us to visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre while we were in Rwanda. I went determined to learn something new, to understand a culture better and to appreciate our surroundings.  What I didn’t anticipate was being completely devastated and horrified.

 

What Happened:

 

From April 6 to July 16 1994, 100 days, at least 1 million Tutsi Rwandans were slaughtered by their fellow countrymen, the Hutus.  It is a complicated history that cause the Rwandans to turn against each other, but the way I understand it, the European settlers put the minority Tutsi people group in leadership over the Hutus. The people were taught in schools that man evolved from monkeys and gave them the belief that men are not created equal.  The hatred the Hutus had for their leadership grew over time and led to a 100 day war that killed 10% of the countries population.

My Reaction:

I saw every face differently after we gained that awful understanding of their history.  Everyone teen and adult had been impacted by the genocide.  These people carried on their daily lives, and before that visit, I had no idea of the pain they held in their hearts. Everyone lost someone, and there is no telling which of the people walking among us played a part in the executions.

Before I was enlightened to their history they were just people, and after they were…just people.  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9.  Even after the knowledge of the terrible sins of this people I understood that I was not any different.

God is perfect and holy, none of us are like Him, and so we are all the same.  Jesus came into the world, as the Son of God, to redeem the whole world to Himself.  I have accepted this salvation by faith, and these people should have the same opportunity.

Museum Review:

The museum was life changing, but it is  in Rwanda; herein lies the dilemma. I would not suggest anyone to fly around the world to visit this memorial, but I do believe everyone would benefit from the lessons this country has to offer.  We are all capable of these terrible actions, we are all subject to brainwashing and feelings of superiority. I think that if we all knew our history we would understand the trend and be less likely to repeat the sins of our fathers.

 

English: Street children in Ndera (capital of ...

English: Street children in Ndera (capital of Gasabo district in Kigali Province, Rwanda) with Stefan Stec. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)