Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fighting for Joy

Recently, we have been going through a sermon series called Fighting for Joy by John Piper. He's great! Anyway, here is a list of 15 things we can do to help us fight to find joy in God. I sat down with Kyle and again with my accountability partner and went through each of these points, brainstorming about ways I can practically apply each of these points in my own life. It has really helped me lately, and I encourage you to apply these to your life- what does it look like for you to successfully act upon each of these points throughout your days and weeks?

1. Meditate on God's word day and night.
2. Focus on the centrality of God, especially Christ.
3. Don't spare the areas of the Bible with God's wrath.
4. Learn to preach to yourself the gospel of Christ's love.
5. Pray earnestly and continuously.
6. Wholeheartedly fight every known sin in your life.
7. Share the gospel.
8. Spend time with God-saturated people.
9. Read biographies of great Christian saints.
10. Read great books about God (theology).
11. Get the rest, exercise, and proper diet that God intended for you.
12. Make a proper use of revelation in nature.
13. Do the hard and loving thing for the sake of others.
14. Get a global vision for the cause of Christ.
15. Be patient in the night of God's seeming absence.

I really do encourage you to take half an hour to think about what you can do in each of these areas of your life to grow in your joy in your relationship with God.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

From the Mouths of Babes

I was thinking yesterday of all of the cute things that Corinth says. And then all of the things Corinth says that really sometimes get under my skin because she says them 83 times in a row. And then I realized that I cherish hearing those things, even the things that, at the time, are somewhat... annoying. (There, I said it!) I know one day, I will WANT to hear them again and I won't get to. So, for now, I'm letting you in on some of the words I hear ALL the time that I love and cherish. They're not really out of the ordinary for toddlers, I just think they're sweet. These are from Corinth, my sweet, sassy, 2 year old!

"Good mowning!" I hear this every day, and I just think it's so cute that she's so perky when she wakes up.

"I wake up!" She says this after naps. I love it because she's so innocently excited about what she gets to do next.

"Mys" I want mys water. That mys toy. Cut mys food please, Mommy. Whatever it is, it's mys. I know that's totally normal, but I still think it's cute!  

"Taward." (tired) I not taward! You taward, Mommy? (Yes, sweet girl, I am!)

"Moke." (milk) Mommy, I have some moke please? Mommy, is that moke coffee? One time, I asked her if she wanted some cold coffee, and she said no. The next day, I asked her if she wanted some of my drink, but didn't tell her it was cold coffee. She tried it, spit it out, and said very seriously, "Mommy, I only like moke and wawer. MOKE AND WAWER."

"Play with me!" I love the imaginations of small children! Even though she wears me out, I love that she wants to play with me all day. I hope she still does years from now!

"Mommy look! Mommy look!" (Always said twice.) I love that EVERYTHING is exciting to her, no matter how big or small, special or normal in our eyes. The world is more fun with her around to point great things out to me.

"Bacack." (backpack) I wear my bacack to school, Mommy? Mommy, you have bacack? Noah sitting in bacack? It's just so cute!

"It's okay, Kathy." It's no secret that I struggle with living here because so many things are so uncomfortable to me. Kyle often has to tell me that's it's okay. Well, Corinth also picked it up. Yesterday, something on our porch fell over and made a loud sound. Corinth and I both looked over, and then she turned back to me and said, "It's okay, Kathy." While I do not like when she calls me by my first name, it is sweet that she cares for my feelings and my fears. God allows my little girl to calm me down many times and in many ways.

"Cause dem ears so big!" We have LOTS of monkeys where we live. I don't mean in the country we live in, nor in the city we live in. I mean on our street, on our porch bars, where we LIVE. One time, a monkey came into my neighbor's apartment while we were having chai, and another time, a monkey almost got onto the elevator with me. Anyway, we have, from the beginning, told Corinth that monkeys are bad because they really are. They are very aggressive and very dangerous. We have had monkeys come at us several times and every time (especially with 2 small children) it is terrifying. For that reason, we have told her that monkeys are bad and to stay away from them. But, when we sit on our porch (bars around it so monkeys can't get inside our house), we watch the monkeys and the babies are just so cute! They have tiny little bodies with really big ears. So, Corinth and I decided that we like monkeys, but only the little ones. One day, she said, "Mommy, I like the baby monkeys!" I asked why, to which she responded, "cause dem ears so big!" Now, we often talk about how babies monkeys are cute because dem ears so big.

"I love you." She says it a lot, and it never, ever gets old. A lot of times I don't feel like a "mom." (Insert vision of high-wasted, bleached jeans and a perm, kinda like my generation's moms during our childhood years. :-) ) But, when she says so sweetly, "I love you," it melts my heart like nothing else can. If you are a mom, you totally get the depth of this statement. If you aren't, I hope you get to experience this one day. It is awesome!

Cherish your kids. Cherish the kids who's lives you impact. Love them all!

Sunday, July 13, 2014


When I was growing up, my favorite season was summer, because that meant my birthday and many, many days watching The Price is Right and going to the pool. As I got older, my favorite season was spring, because everything blooms and is so beautiful. Also, there are lots of thunderstorms in spring, which I have always loved. I also enjoy winter, especially if I'm somewhere where it snows. There is just something so magical about snow! But, until just a few years ago, I NEVER understood when someone said that their favorite season was fall. Yuck! (Other than it being football season, which I absolutely love!) To me, all that meant was, "my favorite season is when everything dies!" But then, I saw what I had only heard of previously- the leaves turning! It was beautiful. Now, I recognize that there is a calmness about fall- where everything cools, relaxes, and cozies in.

Just like the seasons of the earth, seasons of our life all have goods and bads within them. My friend used this analogy in a meeting I recently attended, and it really hit home hard. Our family (and especially me) is very much in a season right now that seems to me much like what I previously thought was fall. I can not see much good in all of the things we are going through right now. But, I know that it is not forever, it is only a season. And, I know that within this season, there is still some good. I may not understand or see it yet, much like I didn't understand how beautiful changing leaves were until I saw them for myself, but I know that God is working good for us, even now.

Please be in prayer for our family and for me. Please pray for healing from deep, painful experiences, for protection for all the members of our family, and for peace and joy in all circumstances.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Guest Appearance from My Mother-in-Love!

(Kyle's mom came to visit us for 3 weeks in June. We asked her to write about her experiences here, and here is what she gleaned from her time in South Asia! Enjoy!)

As I reflect back on my three week trip to visit Kyle and Kathy, the one word that keeps popping up in my head is ‘faith’. To say I was in culture shock the first week would be putting it lightly. The mass chaos of rickshaws, bikes, autocabs, and cars weaving in and out on the streets (not to mention the water buffalo, cows, goats, and donkeys mixed in), the 115 degree weather that drenches you with sweat before you’ve gone 20 yards, the extreme poverty and living conditions of most of the population, and of course the culture and beliefs of the people themselves was extremely hard to comprehend. It is very different from my life here, and I do know how blessed I am (spoiled even), so faith becomes very important. I can honestly say that I saw that in action every day with Kyle and Kathy. You have to have faith to walk out the door every morning to deal with the day, and most importantly, you have to have faith in God that you will be making a difference, no matter how small, on the mass humanity that is lost and faithless in that city. It was overwhelming and sad for me to see all the people that don’t have that hope in their lives, and that is why I was so encouraged to see it being played out in Kyle and Kathy. I was amazed at the strength and courage God has given those two to continue His work. I know they will have days when they will think “why am I doing this?” or “is this really God’s plan for me?”, but I am relieved to say that I know God will encourage them and help them work through those days because of their faith.
“I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.”  Philemon 1:4-6 ESV