Saturday, January 21, 2012

Around the World in 180(+) Days

India.  Germany.  United Kingdom.  Latvia.  Russia.  Australia.  Malaysia.  Philippines.  Brazil.  Bangladesh.  Canada.  Spain.  New Zealand.  Hong Kong.  Netherlands.  China.  Greece.  Sweden.  South Africa. 

In the last seven months, I've traveled to each and every one of the countries in the list above.

Well.. not really in person.  And certainly not by train, plane, or even automobile.

Just a minute.  Let me clarify. 

Since I wrote my very first post, Holding Hands, on this little blog last June, I have had the privilege of journeying into a host of countries I'd only heard or read about in my lifetime.  According to the statistics from my blog, people from all over the globe have clicked to read my posts.  Crazy, huh?

Maybe they stumbled upon my blog accidentally. Maybe they found it on purpose. 

Maybe they linked to my blog via another organization or maybe someone shared my site with them.

Who knows how on earth they found this blog?  I'm not exactly sure, but it's pretty amazing, nonetheless.

I admit that at the beginning, I was a little unsettled about the thought of someone I don't know, clear across the ocean, or even in my own country, reading my thoughts, my stories.  I guess I didn't expect too much when I entered the blogging world.  I guess I also thought it would be a little more private.  I guess I didn't fully comprehend what I was embarking upon.  But it's okay.  In fact, it's more than okay.  The more I think about it, the happier it makes me. :)

Not from a standpoint of pride.  Not at all.  In fact, just the opposite.  Actually, I'm humbled.

I've come to the conclusion, that in my little world of blogging, I have the chance to be part of something much bigger.  Through this blog, I get to have a small, yet significant, role in participating in the great commission Christ gave His followers before leaving earth,

"Go into the world. Go everywhere and announce the Message of God's good news to one and all." Mark 16:16 (MSG)

As a stay-at-home mom, my most adventurous outings are sometimes limited to the weekly shopping trips to the supermarket.  At this stage in my life, it's just not meant for me to go into all the world.

But through this blog, I get to share the good news of God's great big love for us.  I get to encourage others with the hope of Christ through my experiences.  I get to show how real God is in our everyday lives.  It's both a huge blessing and a huge responsibility, one I don't take lightly.

"Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples." Psalm 96:3 (NIV)

Maybe one day, I'll get to hop on a plane and take off across the ocean to share Truth in a foreign country to those desperate to hear it. 

Until then, I'm content on my side of the world, sharing, encouraging, and making disciples of those near to me and those far away--in my home and in my community.  But also, and excitedly, with this blog.

So, if you happen to be one of those readers from the other side of the world, thank you so much for your numerous visits here.  I appreciate you.  Seriously, I do.

And if you are one of my American friends, thank you so much for your frequent stops here as well.  I really appreciate you.  No doubt about it.  I do.

Thanks for the journey so far, friends.  I've enjoyed my trip around the world--and back--in the last 180(+) days.   Can't wait to see where our travels take us next!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tell & Show...or the Other Way Around

Me:  "Honey, listen.  You've got to hear this." 

Without hesitating to see if he was ready to listen, I proceeded to read aloud the last sentence I'd just read in my book to him.

Me:  "What do you think?  Wasn't that good?"

Him:  "Yes.  It was.  I liked it."

Me:  "Don't you love the way the author penned those words together?  Don't you think it was a beautiful way to illustrate such a point?"  

I do this all the time to him.   I read something incredible and I feel compelled to share it.   I'm forever drawn into someone else's words.   I'm a sucker for a well-written, well-thought out sentence, paragraph, or story.

Him (with a twinkle in his eye):  "You know...I'm kinda surprised you married me."

Me:  "What?!? 
Why would you even say something like that?  That's not funny. 
Oh. Wait... 
I think I know why you said that. 
Because in fourteen years, you've only expressed your feelings for me in writing a few times. 
Is that it?"

Him:  "I'm sorry I don't tell you how I feel with a lot of words."

Me:  "That's okay.  You do tell me.  And you always show me--with your actions."

"Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
1 John 3:18

Fourteen years ago today, my husband and I ate dinner at the local Red Lobster in our college town.  Well, I should say I ate.  He barely touched his food and at the time, I had no idea why. 

Now I know.  The poor thing was too nervous to eat.  He was thinking about his course of action in the next hour.  The hour that would redefine our lives as individuals, and redefine us as a couple.

After dinner, we headed back to the college campus, where we had both graduated the previous spring.  He told me he needed to go by the chapel to check on something for a friend. 

Of course, I followed.  As we climbed the stairs and approached the front entrance, I noticed a sign on the outside of the door which read, "Please do not enter tonight, Saturday, January 17th."  Being the rule-follower I am, I insisted we could not go in.  He insisted we could.

When we opened the door, the first thing I noticed was how dim the chapel looked, except for one spotlight and two solitary chairs facing one another on the stage.  He escorted me to one and he sat down in the other. 

From his lips and from his heart, he spoke Ephesians 5:25 to me,  "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her." 
Slowly, but deliberately, he got up and returned with a basin of water and a towel.  In a very humbled manner, he removed my shoes and began to wash my feet.  In a similar humbled manner, I began to cry.

He told me he loved me.  For the first time.  Words he'd reserved until he had the freedom and peace to speak them aloud.  And then...

He pulled out the box, which held my ring.  He asked the question I hoped he'd ask.  And I gave the answer he hoped I'd give.


Years later, my husband still loves me the way Christ loved the church. 

You see, Jesus set the example for him to follow.  He didn't only say He loved us with words.  He showed us by His actions, with the most profound display of love ever demonstrated.  He gave Himself up for us.

And so continues the story of our relationship today. 

I still talk. He still listens.

I could be described as the colorful, communicative type.   He's definitely the strong, silent type.

My words, most often, are many.  His words are few.

But one thing I know.  One thing I don't doubt. 

My husband loves me.

How can I be sure?

He tells me.  And He shows me--with His actions, always with his actions.

"Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
1 John 3:18

Monday, January 9, 2012

Daddy's Home

The door had only just opened when she took off like lightning.  As fast as her little legs could carry her, she ran.  Up the steps and straight into his arms. 

"Daddy's home!" she squealed in her most precious four year old voice. 

Forget the toys.  Never mind the sister she left to play alone downstairs.  

Nothing else mattered.  All her attention was centered on the one who'd been out of the house and out of her presence all day.

Sitting alone on the living room couch, I smiled. 

Silently, I thanked God for the exchange taking place between my youngest daughter and her daddy. 
I thanked God for my husband's safe trip home from work today. 
I thanked God that my husband comes home faithfully every day. 

Because so many daddies can't.  Or don't.  Or won't. 

Then I thought about all the children I know who aren't able to jump into the arms of their fathers today.  And I prayed for them.

For the little ones bravely waiting on their daddy's time of service--defending and protecting our country--to conclude.

For the children who must wait patiently all week for a chance to be with their father during his designated weekend of visitation.

For all the babies who've been abandoned and left alone, never experiencing the loving embrace of a mother or father, never knowing the security of home.

And just this week, for a fellow high school classmate's children, who will no longer feel the strength of their father's arms around them this side of heaven.  

Peace to you, little ones.  Know this.  Your daddy's home.

"I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him.
Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong."  Ephesians 3:16-17

If home is where the heart is, then as believers in Christ, our heart is His home. 

So I pray these little ones will grow to know their Heavenly Daddy, who is always home. 

In heaven.  On His throne.  In the hearts of those who have trusted Him.

Run hard.  Run fast, little ones.  Straight into the strong and loving embrace of your Daddy.

Because Daddy's home.

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