Monday, February 18, 2013

Open Hands

"I have held many things in my hands, and have lost them all;
but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess."
-Martin Luther

He has a plan for us, and He is good.  I write this in my journal with the words He and good traced again and again until they become bolder than the others.  If I had more composure this would all look a lot better, believe me, I know.  In the end, I hope that I will be more humble and deeply rooted in the knowledge of His love.  Poise is overrated anyway.  Short lived.  And a horrible teacher.

Math still gives me heartburn and sweaty palms.  Yesterday I had the experience of a sweet, young Toys-R-Us worker breaking down the receipt line by line to explain why the total was higher than I thought it would be.  Flustered she looked for her mistake only for us to both realize it was mine.  In my head I had added up buy one get one free instead of buy one get one 50% off.  Yes I had seen the sale tags everywhere and managed to confuse even my ten year old son who is very good at math that my total was the correct one.  Luke paid the new total and gave me a quick lesson on what 50% off really is...

We are at a place of math not adding up.  I feel like we are looking at the receipt and trying to figure out who messed up, but no one did.  We are just inching towards 33% raised for us to go help Young Life get started in Basque, Spain.   Jeff will switch to 50% salary for Young Life Culpeper next month.  The plan was to go until July with full salary.  He is still doing Young Life while substitute teaching and coaching to make ends meet.  Our current time line has us leaving in July.  Needless to say heartburn and sweaty palms are wanting to be my constant companions.

    Last week I read about Gideon defeating the Midians with only three hundred men when he could have taken thirty two thousand into battle armies "thick as locusts".  This week I read about Jesus feeding a crowd of five thousand with only five small barley loaves and two small fish.  His math does not look right.  The numbers don't add up.  Gideon was in the weakest of all the clans, his number of men were then cut to less than one percent.  But things don't have to add up correctly for Him to be able to use them.  And they won.  
A large hungry crowd and a boy's small offering.  Hands cupped open with enough food to feed only himself, instead feeds five thousand.   God's glory was shown in both.   So here I am clutching the little we have done here and the little we have raised to go.  I have to trust that holding open my hands, the offering of these small things will bring Him glory.  And that it is in our willingness to obey and give that He is also glorified.  Gideon was fearful, needing God's reassurance often.  The disciples questioned the math in the feeding of the crowd with so little.  But all were willing to see what He could do with the little they were able to give.

We would love to keep moving forward in Young Life International.  We know that our time here is coming to an end.  We aren't ending this part of the race burned out or fearful of how it will continue.  Incredible leadership and volunteers are in place to carry on what God is doing here.  It is just feels like it is ending before the other is ready to begin.  That we are trying to do something that seems impossible with the little we have.  So I will not even try to show you poised composure but ask instead that you pray.  Pray that God is glorified through this and not man.  That His will would be completed in us and through us despite our lacking.  And we will pray that you will experience God's math with us.  That you will see  Him do amazing things with your small offerings this week.

"Here is a boy with five small barley loaves 
and two small fish, 
but how far will they go among so many?"
John 6:9

Still Learning

Things we have learned in the last six months:

I would never had married Jeff, taught art, had kids, or gone into a life of 
full time ministry if I had listened to my fears.  
We will not move forward if we listen to them now.

    We are made for adventure, not a comfy couch.

We are bound to get messy.  This has not been a clean, 
easy process so far 
but I think we will look back and say, 
"That was worth the ride..."

Loving something is one of the most precious gifts we are given.
Losing something we love is one of the hardest lessons learned.
We are learning to hold the things most dear 
with open hands.

Sometimes jumping is the easy part, it is what comes before and after
that teaches perseverance.

We are not designed to be alone.  The joy, grief, laughter, 
and journey is 
so much sweeter when shared.

The greatest joys come after a long wait,  feeble trust, and refined hope.

"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 11:29&30