Struggles & Sufficiency

THOUGHTS FROM BRIAN

I caught myself struggling with something the other day and when I realized it, I became a bit frustrated with myself.  I thought, “As long as I have been a Christian, why am I still struggling with this!”  These imperfections don’t make it any easier as we continue to make plans for our move to Honduras.  On top of struggling with my own limitations there are times I struggle and wonder if we have lost our minds and wonder if we will be able to raise the money we need and leave the life we have always known.

As I thought and prayed about it, I am reminded of the Apostle Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 12:7 about a “thorn” in his “flesh.”  Paul states that the “thorn” remained even after he prayed for it to be removed.  Here is a man who had prayed over people to be healed and they were healed.  He prayed over people to cast out demons and the demons were cast out.  Yet, when he prayed for himself God chose to leave the thorn along with these words for Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  I have come to realize that struggle is part of being human.  In my own struggles I have come to understand that it takes a greater faith to walk with God when things are not perfect than when everything is going our way.

If you are going through struggles that are causing you to ask God “Why?” know that you are not the first person walking with God to face difficulties.  Jesus did not ask Peter to walk on the water on calm seas.  Jesus asked Peter to step out of the boat onto rough seas (Matthew14:22).  Which takes the greater faith, to step onto smooth waters or to step onto rough seas?  Which takes the greater faith, to pray for someone else’s healing when your own prayers for healing have worked or when your own prayers seem to go unanswered?  Which takes the greater faith, to tell others of the greatness of God when you have overcome or when you are struggling?  Which takes the greater faith, to praise God when you are happy or to praise Him through your tears?  Which takes the greater faith, to dance when there is strength in your legs or to dance when you are weak?  It takes the greatest faith to turn to God when there seems to be nowhere to turn and proclaim, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4).”  Don’t give up or give in.  Trust in the fact that God is with you and that he means it when he says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

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Lessons in Humility

Thoughts from Charity

I don’t consider myself an overly prideful person. (But then again—who actually does?) I would say that my struggle is actually on the other side of the spectrum with self-esteem issues. But lately God has been teaching me some lessons in humility.

I can remember throughout my life my dad teasing me with a quote from my toddler years, “I can do it.” And I must admit that I have been pretty self-reliant. I have been taught to work hard. Our society teaches us to “Go for it.” “Give it all you’ve got.” “You get out what you put in.” So, I’ve lived this life by striving for things from good grades to nice vehicles to clean house (somewhat)… Now, I do believe that God expects effort and work from us. (2 Thessalonians 3:10: “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”) But, sometimes we have to rely completely on God, and others, and that takes a healthy dose of humility.

Asking for help, asking for support—financially and otherwise— just goes against my grain. I have come to realize this discomfort; having to humble myself and ask for help is like sandpaper, smoothing off the rough edges, scrubbing away the stand-alone-“I can do it” attitude. The surface is prepared so that God can saturate me, thus helping me to realize that He has all I need. God will provide—the funding, the strength, and the support system that will gird me through this new ministry.

How do you respond when a 13 year old friend gives you all her birthday money? You cry. And cry. And say “Thank You” which isn’t nearly enough to express the gratitude and the transformation that is happening in your heart. You thank God for providing. You swallow your pride and learn to live with more humility, realizing the truth written in Philippians 4: “My God will supply all your needs.”

Genesis House

Thoughts from Brian

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

In this time before we will leave for the mission field, I have found myself in need of a job and place to live.  The people at Hurley United Methodist Church in Hurley MS, have generously offered us a house for the price of paying the electricity bill.  Thank you Hurley UMC for this act of love and hospitality!

They call this home “The Genesis House.”  The word “genesis” means beginning and this whole journey into the mission field thus far seems like a new beginning for me.  The inside of the Genesis house looks just like the house we lived in after I graduated nursing school.  Then we only had two kids, as Ethan and Noah were born while we lived in the “little red house.”  In a month, Ethan and Noah will move off to college and we will be left with just two kids (Isaiah and Lydia) once again.  Then, I was working as a registered nurse.  Now I am working as a registered nurse again.  Then I was waiting for God to launch me into the world of ministry in the local church.  Now, I am waiting for God to launch me into the ministry of world missions.

 

Can you see why I think that it is appropriate God has prompted the people of Hurley UMC to let us stay in the Genesis House?  You see, God is not just the god of the beginning.  God is also the god of new beginnings.  Just look at the lives of Abraham, Moses, the original apostles, and Paul and you can see how God brought them to new beginnings.  I can’t wait to see what God will bring about in this new beginning of our lives as well.

So, whatever your life has brought to this point, just trust in God and he can bring new, brighter, better, and bigger things to you.  Trust in His grace and His grace will never let you down.  In His Grip, Brian

Revelation 21:5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

 

Do What?

Early 2014:  Life as we knew it was changing quickly.  Decisions were being made for us that just didn’t feel right.  It seemed God was saying, “Look up from the daily grind!  I’ve got a whole new direction for you.”  So we began to look in many different directions, seeking God’s guidance.  After several questions of “What if…?”  “What about….?”  Mission work in Honduras kept coming around.  Our friends would respond with “What?…..Oh.  That does feel right, even as crazy as it sounds.”

For a week, Brian served at Hosptial Loma de Luz, Balfate, Honduras in 2002.  Then the regular newsletters in the last 12 years (following us through 4 addresses)  have tugged at our hearts.  But never so much as to actually move there.  In fact many years ago I even felt God saying, “You’ll go there one day.”  Which was met with my, “Sure. God, whatever you say.”  (With more of a “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude.)

And here we are:  preparing to move in January.  For a year  (or more).

We’ve already been to visit.  Now the hospital is joined by a Children’s Home and a Bilingual School.  We feel called to work closely with the directors of the home so that a disabled children’s facility can be added.  I’ll be able to use my teaching skills in the school, Brian can also help in the hospital with his nursing experience.  Only the Lord knows what fruit will come.  We are simply seeking to be obedient to his call.  Perhaps God is calling you to partner with us?  Stranger things have happened.