Because of lack of time to write new blogs for a while, I want to share some entries with you this month from one of the most transformational summers of my life. The summer before I met my husband I was blessed to spend in the land of my birth: Thailand. These entries are from a journal I kept that summer, and many include prayers. I hope they can bless you!
June 15th, 2009
My dear Heavenly Father,
Oh how I miss Your closeness. It's so easy to go through the motions without stopping to gaze at You, my Rock. Sometimes I feel so lost and alone in this walk, but I know You are there and my hand is in Yours. I worry I will not know the turns to take when I come to the intersections of life. Let me hear Your Spirit when He whispers in my ear.
There are so many dreams I have, Lord. But are they selfish or are they placed in my heart by You? I want to travel and meet people and hear their stories. I want to see all of Your world. I want to learn the cello. I want to climb mountains and sleep under the stars. I want to write song lyrics that encourage my brothers and sisters in their faith, and songs that will touch the ears of unbelievers. I want to see the United States by bus and train. I want someone to experience these things with...
This past weekend was a special one and I met two people I will never forget. James Hla and his wife Shell invited Ashley and I to go with them to Mae Sai, a border town of Thailand and Burma. It was a three hour drive from Chiang Mai. We drove through the mountains and it was beautiful. When we got there to the church, James told us we could go walk around if we'd like. "Just don't walk into Burma," he said with a laugh. So we walked through the market for a couple of hours. For our beds that night we slept on pads on a concrete floor. I wasn't used to it, but I have to say I liked it, sleeping on the floor. That's not to say I didn't wake up several times through the night!
The next morning (Sunday morning) we got up and walked to a Muslim restaurant with Shell and another lady. The tea was delicious! It was Thai tea and Burmese tea with sweet condensed milk. Mmm! I'll never forget that tea. We walked back to the church and Ashley and I went back to bed. Church wasn't until 10:30 a.m. The building we stayed in was across from the church. As we walked over to the church we could already heart the people singing in Burmese. It was beautiful! Although I couldn't understand the language I stood mesmerized by the outpouring of hearts praising the same God and Father who created those very hearts. I could feel the Holy Spirit there and moving, and the singing brought tears to my eyes. I serve a God who unites the souls of His children despite racial differences and communication barriers.
After the singing, James invited Ashley up to share the story of the minister and his wife in California who were told they needed a permit to hold a Bible study in their own home, or else they would be fined. Ridiculous! After Ashley shared, I went up to share my testimony. Mr. Hla translated for me and I felt the Spirit guiding me as I spoke.
The best part of the whole weekend was meeting two very special people: Paul and Lydia. As we sat down for lunch we were sitting next to them. Lydia thanked me for my testimony. "When I look at you, I don't think you struggle because you look so nice. But then you started talking and as I heard your story I remembered that everybody struggles! I used to think God couldn't use me, but then I realized that He uses the weak to accomplish His purposes. He chose to use me. Then Paul, her uncle said, "Yes, I was encouraged by your story. I, too, wanted to die before I was a Christian. My father made me be a monk for five years, but after five years I decided to leave against my father's wishes. I felt so hopeless and without purpose. I thought there was no purpose in living." But then Paul met Jesus.
Lydia came to the Lord through her uncle Paul. At first her mother and her two brothers hated her, but after a while they understood better. Her parents divorced when she was two, and her father has been a monk for 25 years. She hasn't seen him in twenty years and he doesn't know she is a Christian. "Are you scared to see him?" I asked her. She looked down and smiled, "A little," she said.
Paul and Lydia are from a tribe in Burma called the "Kham Ti Shan." 'Kham Ti' means "Golden Place." They are working towards translating the Bible into their language to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to their people. Here is what makes this so difficult. First they must organize the written language because it currently has no organization. In fact, only 10 out of 17,000 members of the Kham Ti Shan are able to read the scrolls of their tribe. So Paul and Lydia are first working on a dictionary for their people. It takes a special sort to do this kind of grueling work.
What amazed me was Paul and Lydia's humility! They were so surprised that Ashley and I showed so much interest in their work. They do not view themselves as much, but they believe in the power of God. Lord, I pray to hear about the day they finish this enormous task that lies before them. I would love to celebrate with them!
Faith has been a consistent theme in my life. It has carried me through and keeps carrying me through. There are times in life when we stare at the mountain in front of us and think, "This will NEVER move." I can't tell you how many times that's been me. But even better, I can't tell you how many times God HAS moved that mountain!
I find myself this week in a situation where a child I care very much about is being emotionally damaged and put down by another adult. I don't know what the solution is. God does. It's in times like these I feel out of control. I cry out to God, "Why?" I feel powerless. Many people say to me, "I could never do foster care. It would hurt me too much." Key word. ME. I wonder, 'Do you think Jesus said, "Father, I could never go to those people. They will hurt ME too much. They will deny me, reject me, and my own friends will desert me. I'm sorry Father. I could never do that." Thankfully Jesus didn't do that. He rather said, "Father not my will, but yours be done (Luke 22:42)."
I don't believe that everyone is called to foster care. But, please don't ever say you can't do something because it would hurt you too much. It does hurt.
It hurts more than anything I've ever done.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it.
Darin and I don't do foster care because we're amazing people. We do it because currently we are called to it. I don't know why we have been called to it because most days I feel like I stink at it. I constantly ask, "Father, please work despite me." And somehow He does.
is a rural Missouri preacher's wife who stays at home with her son Winston and 4 foster sons whom she and her husband are in the process of adopting! (Looking forward to the day I can put their names on here!)