November 28, 2010

A day of Thanksgiving

What a fantastic Sunday.

We are part of such a warm and welcoming in assembly... and today with our news out, it spread quickly. We felt such love and joy from all those we fellowship with. I know news of a upcoming baby is always well accepted - I have been on the congratulating side many, many times... and I have always been truly excited for the new parents-to-be. But to experience the other side of it yourself... even though it's expected that people will be happy for you, it is SO heartwarming to see their big smiles and sincere congratulations.

There is just something so special about the miracle of new life.

My friend, Jersey Girl is due January 5th so it will be great to get all the newborn tips from her, as she'll be 5 months ahead of me... :) Until the Lord brings in a few more young couples, our children will be the only babies growing up in our assembly for awhile. I'm thankful we will have each other for support when our children are the ones making the noise... ;)   I can't wait until January to cuddle her little one and smell that new born smell...  it'll help tie me over until I can hold my own. :)

In addition to feeling so much love today, there were many other things to be thankful for. It was the first  night of a two week gospel series so we had seedsowers and invitations go out in the mail to the community last week. This morning a mom and her two teenage daughters came out for the Sunday School / Ministry. Jersey Girl and I teach the teen girl class, and these two visiting teens joined us. Now, we weren't prepared to teach a class at all since we were going to stay up and listen to the ministry (guest speakers often give us a day off! *smile*)... but since it seemed they specifically came for the teen class, we decided we better wing something.  We ended up playing Bible Trivia so it wasn't much of a class, but it was a good ice breaker and hopefully the girls come back with their mom. They're from Nigeria and only moved to Canada a few months ago. Just in time for winter... what an adjustment! They definitely have bible teaching background, as they knew many of the Bible Trivia answers.

Having them show up and join our class is an eye opener... we currently have 3 girls in our class - saved and baptized and one is in fellowship... but we ARE the teen girl class so we need to be prepared for new faces - saved or not saved. We have too few young people to separate into 2 classes... We pray for those from the community to come in, yet when they do we are completely unprepared and have no idea how to work outside our structured comfort zone. I don't really have any idea how to change that, but know that we need to figure something out. Do any of you teach an older class? How do you adjust to new class members when you're going through a topic or study? Do you do anything special for newcomers or do you try to melt them into the routine and continue on?

Tonight we had a delicious dinner at the hall - ham & hashbrowns... my favorite! We had a number of visitors in for the dinner and the gospel meeting. There were a couple connections to the Christians who came out that we have prayed for - for years... so we have much to be thankful for and to encourage us to keep praying.

If you have a moment, pray for us and our two weeks of meetings... for those who will come out and hear the Good News, and for us to have courage to invite others in.

November 25, 2010

Just what's new in my life...

Remember that wonderful trip to Vermont and NYC we had? Well, I haven't blogged about it or posted any pictures on facebook... mainly because the one thing I have to say about that trip - while it was wonderful, I was t.i.r.e.d.  Not just sleepy, but exhausted. Normally I would have no problems walking all day, taking in the sites, colours and smells of a new city... I'd love it! And even though my man is 6'4" and I'm only 5 feet and umm..1 'n a half inches, I'm usually pulling my husband behind me. If he's doing his "work" walk, which means racing people from the train to his office through the underground path, well, then I'm trailing him... but any other time I've ever walked with him, he is S.L.O.W. :) But not this trip... the poor guy, I was slowing him down... and moaning that I needed to rest... needed to sit... needed to eat....needed to sit... needed to sleep.

What was the difference?

Well, a little someone was making "his" presence known... yes, I'm trying to share our exciting news! I'm going to be a mom in June!! We're going to be parents! We're beyond excited, and so very thankful God has blessed us with this gift of life growing inside me.

I'm a couple days shy of 13 weeks along and we had our first ultrasound last Friday... so amazing to see this little one growing with his/her heart beating and little head bobbing ferociously! L.O.V.E. Our due date is "June 5th"... so in reality?? Likely 2 weeks after that. :D

We told our parents and siblings this past Saturday, and it was so wonderful to hear the excitement on the other end of the line. This is the first grandchild for both sets of parents... if they thought the distance was hard before, I can only imagine what it will be like come June!

I'm so glad to finally be able to share this news... every time I talked to my mom and she asked, "So what's new?" Ummm... "Not much"...  Totally felt like I was lying to her every time because in my head I'm singing, "Everything is new!!!" :)

We have so much to be thankful for... so far this first trimester has been a healthy one. God knows the future, and we leave our little one in His good hands.

You hear of children growing up unloved all around the world - orphans, street kids, or those from broken homes where all they know is anger, abuse and bitterness... I am so thankful for our loving family and friends who will welcome this child with joy and love. We should never take this for granted and give God thanks for our many blessings.

You can't see much in this picture, but... here's our little bean at almost 12 weeks. :)

So, that's the update. I'm going to be a mom, and my man is going to be a fantastic dad. :) And while the responsibility is beyond enormous, the privilege God is giving us is thrilling... and we are E.X.C.I.T.E.D! :)

Thanks for sharing in our news :)

November 16, 2010

Praying Together

Do you have a little prayer group? Sadly I feel like quite a few in our generation grew up without seeing little prayer groups in action, but the good news is - it's not too late to start!  A small group of ladies in our assembly get together every second Monday afternoon for an hour to pray. I can't make it every time because I work, but when I can take a late lunch I try to get there. What is special is the range of ages and backgrounds of these ladies... I'm the youngest - coming in at my early 30's, and the oldest would be in her late 80's I'm guessing. We  are a group made up of widows, mothers, grandmothers, single sisters and young married wives...We share prayer requests, burdens and thanksgiving for answered prayer at the beginning, then quietly bow our heads and take turns sharing our hearts with the Lord. It can be an emotional time (maybe because we're women?!) as the requests and burdens are real. It is a time when we pray for our little assembly, our elders, our various outreaches, our community, each other and the known trials dear ones are going through. It is a time when you know each one around the little table cares for your special request and are praying with you. It is a special hour in God's presence - together. 

I am thankful for this little group... and encourage other women to get together to pray. Sure - it's terrifying the first few times you hear your voice in the quietness, but the benefits soon outweigh the nervousness. The Lord has asked us to pray... for sure in our personal lives, but there are also many examples of when decisions were to be made or crisis hit that believers came together to pray. There is power in prayer, and we need to utilize this great resource God has given us!

November 11, 2010

Should I have a complex?

On a much lighter note...

I'm always bemoaning that I can't find boots to fit my calves... Almost anything with a zipper does not work for me. Well, I just came across a boot for "extra wide calf"... and guess what the name is?? rsvp Janna.

Yes, they even spelled my name right.

But the boot is rather ugly... and I don't think I need them that wide.

God's Purposes

I've come here to write multiple times since my last post... but what I'm able to put words to seems far too trivial... yet what my heart and mind has been mulling over for awhile now is still so jumbled that expressing myself seems next to impossible.

My heart is still so heavy for Duncan... while the "events" are over with and people go on with their lives, his life is still shattered. He is only at the beginning of a very long and lonely grieving experience. And that must just seem overwhelming. All words fail me when I think about this, but I know Christ hears the cries of my heart and brings them to the Father on my behalf.... and joins them with the prayers of others for Duncan's comfort and strength.

Tuesday night at my bible study where we're doing Beth Moore's "A Woman's Heart - God's Dwelling Place" (a study on the Tabernacle), the focus of the night was Christ as our Great High Priest who always lives to intercede for His own. I was reminded that Christ is never further than God's right hand, and there is constant discussion between Triune God as Christ brings forward our concerns, our prayers, our requests, our confessions, our heartbreak, our triumphs, our fears, our doubts... EVERYTHING that concerns His children, Christ brings before the Father.

It was pointed out that we have a skewed concept of God... we think that just because He is all-knowing means He doesn't think... deliberate... reflect upon... that if we thought He did any of these, than we're saying he doesn't know... completely false. God IS all knowing... He knows the end from the beginning. But He is THINKING about you. He is THINKING about me. He is reflecting and taking notice of what is happening every moment of our daily life. He makes conscious decisions concerning my life and your life to accomplish HIS purposes for our individual lives here, in our generation.

That hard blow comes... and in despair we wonder "Where is God in this? Does He care?"  Yes, Child of God. He cares. And this trial did not come on a whim... it was a deliberate decision by our Heavenly Father to allow this trial... But why? Because He has a plan and a purpose for my life here, and your life here... and this trial is critical to us accomplishing our purpose for God here in our generation. We may not see the fruit of it, but we can trust the all-knowing God who never makes a mistake. He is only good.

Jer 29:11-14
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD.

God is talking to his people in exile. Here they were taken captive and carried away from their beloved Jerusalem to Babylon. You can only imagine what their pain was, their fear, their doubts in the God who promised to make them a great nation. Yet - this was part of God's plan. This was critical to accomplish his purposes for His people... This is what vs 4 says:  "This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon."  This wasn't the plan of the evil one... God takes credit for this trial to His people. It was part of a bigger plan.

Yet God never minimizes the pain His children are feeling... while He allows a deep valley, a dark trial, a painful experience - He promises to be there as the Comforter. As the King of Peace. As the Rock - a Firm Foundation. As the Shield. As the Wings of Shelter. As The Protector. As the Cleft in the Rock - a Hiding Place. He doesn't leave us alone to face these dark experiences. He is the Light in our Darkness. He is the Healer. He binds up the broken hearted. He sets captives free. He is our Saviour. And we must trust Him. He's got it under control. While we may feel shattered - He is not shaken.

Does he really take notice of your agony? Yes... here is just one example.

Ps 56:8 says: "You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?" (KJV)

I like the message paraphrase:  "You've kept track of my every toss and turn, through the sleepless nights, Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book."

Then, finally, in Mal 3:16 - "Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name."

So while each step of your life was predetermined by the all-knowing God before you were even born, He is currently paying attention to every detail of your life. Every pain. And every Joy. Remember that Christ - who gave Himself as a sacrifice for you, to Redeem you - is forever living at God's right hand making intercession for you. They are taking note of you dear one... and Christ is praying for you. Amazing!

Even in your pain - give Him Praise for who He is.

So, if you are going through a deep dark valley right now - remember that Your God is with you, holding your right hand. He is wanting to strengthen your faith and bring you through this victorious. His work in our lives is to mold us to be more like Him and to equip us with the critical "tools" to accomplish His purpose for our life ... here. Living in our generation.

Will I step out of the way, submit myself to God's perfect will and plan, and allow Him to accomplish His purpose for my life?? He saved me and left me here for a reason... time is short... I pray I will be molded to be more like Him and to live out His purposes for my life. 

Let's pray for one another.