This is an article I wrote for our church newsletter this month which focused on reports from the Haiti trip. I wanted to share it here too.
I signed up to go to Haiti, mostly because all the other members of my family were going and I did not want to be left out. However, I think deep in my heart was a core desire to see God do something powerful and real.
Many of you know my testimony. I grew up knowing about God and salvation and worship and loving Jesus from my earliest memories. I consciously gave my heart to Jesus as a young girl in Sunday School class. I knew what it meant to have an intimate relationship with Jesus and walk in the joy of my salvation. When Scott and I married, we had it as our goal to someday serve overseas as full-time missionaries. So in 1989, we took our family to Senegal, West Africa for one school year as associate missionaries. It was a difficult, wonderful, stretching year for us. We sensed the Lord leading us to complete the New Tribes training and go back full time. But it was not as easy as we had hoped. We struggled through the first part of the training and the leadership graciously passed us. But when we got to the second and final phase, I just could not go on. And so we left and came back to Nebraska. I remember thinking (with all the attending feelings of failure and guilt) on the drive back that I had totally blown it, both with my husband and with the Lord.
I did not realize it then, but something changed in my relationship with the Lord at that point. It was not the same. During all the years between then and now, I have struggled in my walk with the Lord. I knew He loved me. I knew He forgave me. But I felt unworthy and I often wondered if He had any further purpose for my life. Several times in the last few months I have said to the Lord, “Lord, I feel like I’m drowning, like I’m just barely keeping my head above water. I need You to do something.” And that’s where I was when I went to Haiti.
Each day we were in Haiti, we had team meetings both in the morning and each evening -- a time of prayer and praise and worship, for sharing events from the day and thoughts from Scripture or anything the Lord was saying to us. While we were worshiping and quiet before the Lord, He began to show me that I was believing a lie. I was believing that I had forfeited my rights as a true child of God by my sin and failure. I believed that I had forfeited my freedom in Christ by my behavior. But in all the years of bondage I didn’t know what was wrong with me until the Holy Spirit revealed it in my heart and mind on a rooftop in Haiti. I didn’t say anything to anyone that night, but I spent a lot of time through the night thinking and praying about what the Lord had revealed. I realized it was true and that many areas of my life had been affected by the lie I had believed. I repented and asked the Lord to do His work of making me new.
I felt like a door slammed shut behind me. All of the stuff behind that door no longer has any power over me. Jesus set me free. I knew I had to tell the whole team, both to seal it by saying it out loud and because I wanted the accountability of others knowing what God had done for me. A couple of nights later I shared very briefly what the Lord had shown me and that He had set me free. The whole team gathered round and prayed for me and praised the Lord with me. God sealed His work in my heart that night. I am still discovering all the changes this has made in my life. The first and most precious to me though, is that I can worship the Lord freely – without past failures rearing up and telling me I am unfit to be in His presence. With all my heart, I want to follow Jesus wherever He leads me.
We saw God do many powerful and real things while we were in Haiti. One of them He did for me.I would like to express deep gratitude to all of you who prayed for us while we were in Haiti. God used you to work His work in us.
As part of the BethanyHouse Book Review program, I read a new book called Flight to Heaven by Capt. Dale Black. I like books that tell true stories, especially when they are written by the person who had the experiences (autobiography). It is similar to 90 Minutes in Heaven in that Capt. Black had a near-death or death experience. The thing I liked best about this book was the change that took place in his heart and life attitudes as a result of his glimpse of heaven. I would expect such an experience to radically alter a person's life and it did. His story reminds me that the Bible is absolutely true - even the parts that promise things we cannot see or have no way to experience while we are living here. It encourages me to live life with more in view than what I can see with my eyes everyday. I heartily recommend this book to any one who is interested.
Today (Monday) is our 30th Anniversary! Scott surprised me by making reservations for a cabin at Niobrara State Park. We've been wanting to go check it out since it is relatively close and we're considering options for our family gathering in September. We had a really wonderful time. It is a beautiful park on the border of Nebraska and South Dakota where the Niobrara River empties into the Missouri River. Because of all the rain we have had this summer, it was lush and green all the way up there. It's not a very big park and we walked some of its roads to reach special attractions like a fishing bridge and the higher lookout points. Thanks to Zeke and Psalm 29, we woke up to a thunderstorm this morning! Which was perfect, I thought. It just added to my enjoyment of the trip. Thank you, Honey, for thinking of it!
Has anyone else had this experience? I quit drinking coffee every morning sometime before Christmas. Instead, I started drinking tea from the The Republic of Tea and also a Chai Tea Latte from Sam's Club. I was very surprised to discover that I started feeling better -- a lot better. I don't wake up with that groggy feeling you have until you drink your coffee. And I have more energy evenly throughout the day. It's great! I don't know whether to attribute it to the lack of coffee or the addition of the tea. But whichever it is, I am thankful! Maybe it's a combination of both. . . .
I finally finished reading The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher. I cannot wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who is seeking a better understanding of the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The author examines the celebration of Communion from several different angles. She does a very good job of relating the partaking of Communion back to daily living. She is a good story teller, telling many stories from her own life and experience. I kept waiting for her to talk about the foundational truths the Lord’s Supper was given to remember. But she never did. Instead, she related Communion more to the feeding of the 5,000 than to the last supper (p.78). And she never mentions Jesus’ words, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19) Nor does she refer to Paul’s words in I Cor. 11:26: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” It seemed to me that much of what she had to say was based on her feelings about things and her reasoning about how things might be. I found the book to be too mystical and not Biblically based for me to enjoy it or its message.
I am a wife and mother - and now a grandmother, a daughter, an aunt, a sister, my kids' "mom" (to their friends), more recently - a pastor's wife. Most of my life has been spent at home, doing what I love most - being a wife and mother. Now that our kids are grown, that looks a little different, but I love it even so. The "center" and stability for my life is Jesus Christ. He holds me together and satisfies the deepest part of me. All glory belongs to Him!