Finding Joy in Him

Through Every Season

Month: September 2008

Where are you hiding? Part 2

Getting back to the title of my post: “Where are you hiding?”

Proverbs 25:2 says, “It’s the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.”  At church on Sunday we had a guest speaker that said that God told her that He loved to hide great people in great hiding places.  

Then He asked her, “Where did I hide Adam?”  
She answered, “In the garden.”  
“Moses?”
“In a basket and then in the palace.”
“Joseph?”  
“In a pit, in Potipher’s house, and in prison.”
“David?”
“Keeping the sheep.”
“Esther?”
“In the palace.”
Then He asked, “Where did I hide Jesus?” and answered for her “As a carpenter.”
I’ve thought of many more people God has hidden.  There are many modern day people too.  That amazes me.  
One of the things I hate about moving is being new and getting though the questions that help you size each other up (I mean.. get to know new people).  They ask Mike first.. “What do you do?”  He has this great job that he loves.. he feels privileged to serve his country through what he does.. he works super hard.. and unto the Lord.  I am very proud and happy for him.  He answers simply, “I am a budget officer for the Air Force.”  Thoughts run through their head about punching numbers all day… but it’s really much more than that.  
Then they ask me, “So what do you do?”  Since moving here my answer has been, “I am a stay at home mom.”  They are thinking, “What?  You stay home all day and eat Bon Bons while your husband works his fingers to the bone to support your family?  How shameful.”  I don’t know for sure that that’s what they are thinking, but I know that I have told just told them that I have four teens and that they can’t imagine how they could need a stay at home mom and the incredulous look on their face kinda gives them away.
I know that when I answer that way that I am being a little facetious, but something has gone wrong in our society that it no longer values motherhood when it stands alone.  Do you realize that all this expectation on women to “do something with their lives” is a big part of what has made the cost of living to go up so high?  I keep starting to rant.  Thank God for the back space button.  I’ll spare you.  
All those expectations plus the high cost of living is destroying families.  Little babies are put in day care, kids in school, after school programs, soccer, summer camp on and on.  No one is ever home to see each other.  When they are, the kids are either playing video games or doing homework and the parents are cleaning house or watching TV because they are too exhausted to do anything else.  Families are being raised on fast food.. loosing their health.. getting more and more into debt… which causes more stress…  Over half end in divorce and we wonder why. (Believe it or not this is not my rant.)
To correct my facetious answer Mike always adds, “She homeschools the kids.”  I kinda wish he wouldn’t so I could rant.  Their eyes get really big and they have this amazed look on their face as they say, “Wow!  I don’t know how you do it.  Homeschool four teenagers.  You must have a lot of patience.  I could never stay home with my kids.”  They are thinking of me the same way I was thinking of missionaries.  “Only angelic people can homeschool.”  But it’s not true!!!  
I am an ordinary person.  Patience isn’t something that people are born with .. it’s a fruit of the Holy Spirit!  I have wept, prayed, thrown plenty of impatient fits and prayed some more.  That’s how you get patience.  
We have chosen different standard of living by living on one income, shopped garage sales and at Good Will, and fed our kids baloney sandwiches instead of McDonald’s.  Our kids never threw fits at the grocery store for candy or toys because they knew we couldn’t afford them.  We all have to make choices.  Through the years God had blessed us mightily through Mike’s job.  
I have had to fight feelings inferiority and tell myself over and over that investing my life in my kid’s lives will pay off… even when it doesn’t look like it and they aren’t grateful.  I’ve had to trust God that He knew what He was doing when He told me to homeschool and wouldn’t let me quit.  I’ve had to pray for wisdom when I was in over my head and work and search for solutions long into the night.  
As much as I love to rant that nothing is wrong with being a stay at home mom I also believe that God calls some moms to work.  They carry a lot on their shoulders and many of them do a great job of being keepers at home as well.  I do and don’t envy them.  I pretty sure that I could never do it all.  I am thankful for the life God has given me.  I’ve made mistakes.  I’ve had to apologize.  I’ve failed.  I am not angelic.  
I have thought for a long time that the kids and I have been in hiding.  We spend days on end at home and that feels like hiding.  One day, when the time is right, each of us will come out of hiding and into the next phase of what God is calling us to do.  I don’t know when.  I don’t know if God will use any of us for anything “great” like He did Moses or Esther.  But I do know that it’s good to be in God’s will.. whatever that is and that God needs sheep keepers and home keepers just as much as He needs kings.
So where are you hiding?  Are you in business, sales, or a stay at home mom like me?  Maybe you’re a farmer, a maid, or a fisherman like some of the Bible heros were.  It doesn’t really matter as long as you are hearing God and hiding right in the middle of His will where He can use you exactly the way He created you.  Don’t let anyone tell you that what you do is unimportant.  As our guest speaker said, “Clean bathrooms in the church are just as important as good preaching.”
Love,
J

Where are you hiding?

Every since I was a little girl and went to my first Missionettes meeting and heard about missionaries around the world I’ve always wanted to be a missionary or do something great for God.  It’s good to desire to show your love to God in a great way because His love for us is so great.

When I was in my early twenties, I actually did get to be a missionary in Thailand.  I loved it.  Thailand was a land of beautiful people who were hungry for God, but while I was there I discovered that missionaries weren’t the mystical, angelic people that I had always imagined they were.  They were ordinary people like me.  
They have one of the most incredible jobs.  Some actually get paid to live their dreams of ministering to the people in the country God has called them to, but in day to day life.. sometimes they wonder if that pay will cover the rent and groceries for the week, sometimes they come up against walls and trials, sometimes their co-laborers say and do things that hurt them, sometimes they are the ones stepping on toes, somedays they wonder if they ever heard God in the first place, many times life seems just like the dull every day life in their home country, and somedays they wish with all their heart that they could run away home, get some rest, and see their family.
While I was in Thailand, I experienced a wonderful grace that enabled me to love and lay down my life for the people there, but there were many days that I spent doing the same kind of things I spent doing at home.. cleaning house (yes, missionaries houses have to be cleaned, too), caring for my baby, cooking dinner.. while my husband got to go out and preach and minister to people.
Finally I went to God in desperation, “God, is this what I came to Thailand to do?  I wanted to do great things for You.”  I heard very clearly that day that my job was to “Care for your husband and children.”  He showed me a verse in Titus 2:5.  Now I know that every young wife should know this verse, but to me it was very new.  “To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God not be blasphemed.” After reading that I had to pray again, “Lord help me to be content to be a keeper at home.”  I’ve had to pray that many times since.  
I think there have been times that I was content, but each time I move (way too often) I get excited about what is it that God is going to use me for in this new place and the answer is still the same.  Actually this last time God spoke to me before we moved that my roll as a wife was going to be key.. that I needed to really focus on loving and respecting my husband.  
The funny thing is that when I do get to play a role that’s a little outside my wife/mom roll I freak out… “I can’t do it God!”  Then He has to remind me that “It’s not by might, nor by power, but by his Spirit.”  Many times He has had to teach me the lesson of not doing things in my own strength the hard way.  Even my mom and wife roles are overwhelming at times.. but He is always there to help me.. even in the darkest of nights.
I had more that I wanted to write.. but it’s 7 o’clock and time to put on my mom/wife hat again.
Love,
J

Sarah Palin “For such a time as this” Esther 4:14

The night before John McCain announced his VP running mate my husband said, “He should pick a woman governor to run with him.. that would shake things up.” and in my heart I heard God whisper, “A Queen Esther.”  We were shocked and thrilled the next morning when we heard that McCain actually had.  

I know I can’t be the only one coming up with parallels between Sarah Palin and Queen Esther (I actually just googled it and found that I wasn’t.) but I can’t sleep any longer until I write down my thoughts and ask you to fast and pray for Sarah and her people.  Like Queen Esther I believe Sarah has her people hidden in her heart.  One of the first things that I learned about Sarah was that she has 5 children and that the newest one has Down Syndrome, so the first people that I saw in her heart were the unborn and the special needs children of our nation.  Since, I’ve heard her speak of her heart for the people of America as a whole and her desire to make our nation truly “of the people… for the people.”  As I continue to watch and pray, I am looking forward to seeing more of the people God is putting in her heart and of His unfolding plan to use our prayers to help rescue them.
Before I make more comparisons, I would like to share with you what has caused me to hope and pray for an end to abortion and a restoration of our nation.  Recently, I was privileged to attend a gathering of thousands youth who are fasting and praying for an end to abortion, for revival and our nation at “The Call” (thecall.com).  While I was there, I learned that not only are these teens meeting for these gatherings but that there are teenagers across our nation praying and fasting weekly on Fridays at their schools for an end to abortion (learn more at bound4life.com).  Seeing so many kids give up their Saturday to fast, fervently seek and worship God taught me to hope more than any speech could have ever done.   We took home a book from “The Call” called Shaping History Through Fasting and Prayer by Derek Prince.  In it Derek shares the scriptural principle of praying for our nation’s government and stories of how fasting and prayer have changed history.  It’s an amazing account.  Don’t miss this chance to be a part of history in the making.
Before I share my comparisons between the people in the book of Esther and the modern day people of our nation know that I know that as Jesus said in Mark 10 that no one is good but God.  I am not for a minute putting my hope in a person.  My hope is in God and Him alone.  We all make mistakes as I am sure all the people in both stories have but God loves us and uses us anyway. 
In my loose synopsis of the story of Esther below I will be inserting quotes from the book of Esther.  I love to learn from books, lectures, watching people, the news, and even TV shows.  My favorite teacher is the Holy Spirit.  No matter the source or the subject I am always looking to Him for His insight.  I don’t always hear him perfectly, but I love to meditate on His Word and I’d like to encourage you to do the same.  
First on the scene in story of Esther is King Xerxes (Ahasuerus).  He was the king of Persia, a large and prosperous nation.  He had a party to show off his riches, encouraged everyone to drink and do whatever felt good.  A little like our modern day culture?  Next there is his queen, Vashti, who refuses to be shown off to his drunken friends and is then banished from the kingdom by her angered king.  This reminds me of the conservative people who refuse to join in the ungodliness of our culture and are treated like less than nothing… banished.  The most recent term I’ve heard used was “white trash.”  After banishing his queen, Xerxes conducted a beauty contest, had the contestants go through purification ceremonies and chose a queen with a true hidden beauty, Queen Esther.  Sarah won runner up in an Alaskan beauty contest and I believe has the true hidden beauty of God in her life.  I am sure that the trials in her life have been a kind of purification process in preparing her for her future.  She has become a proven leader through her time as mayor and a governor in Alaska and like Esther has “obtained favor in the sight of all them that looked upon her ” (an 80% approval rating in Alaska).
Next is her older cousin, Mordecai, who I believe is like John McCain (a father figure in her life) in that each were written about in the “chronicles before the king” for their heroism; John also has an independent spirit like Mordecai that refuses to bow before his political enemies.  Then there is the villain of the story, Haman, who is so angry with Mordecai that he plots to destroy all his people, “both young and old, little children and women,” because “their laws are different from all the people.”   Haman offered to make the kingdom treasury rich if King Xerxes would allow him to annihilate the Jews.  Are the laws on written on your heart different from all the people?  Many lobbyist have offered riches to those who will write laws that benefit their cause at the expense of the people.  Have you heard the vicious attacks of McCain’s political enemies?  It’s no secret that many have been infuriated by Sarah’s convictions and are out to destroy her and in essence everyone that holds her values.  It’s been “published unto all the people”; the media themselves joining in the attacks.  Like Esther, Sarah was asked by “Mordecai” to put her life on the line for her people and who knows if she has “come to the kingdom for such a time as this” to save her people.
So like Esther, I want to ask you to fast and pray for Sarah and her people.  Pray that God’s will will be done in this election; that God will strengthen Sarah for the task that is at hand; that God will not allow the sacrifice of children to continue in this country; that God will restore His people to Himself and bring a great revival to our land.  Pray also for the people of Israel; that God will give them peace.
Thank you,
J

Late? We’re Just Getting Started!

Looking a little too comfortable.

How about a game of Gestures?

The Chagoya girls were the true pros.

The guys tried their best.

I got to go for along for the ride.

We’re too cool to play.

One more game before bed.

This isn’t all that hard.  
Thanks for the great day!
Jenny

Shooting B-balls

C. has plenty of balls to go around.

I am sure he’s training his little sisters for the pros.

He’s got an awesome hoop, too.

Watch this shot.

What kind of flowers are these?

Want to play?

Good one.

It’s been a great day.

Relaxing with Friends

We had such a great time hanging out with the Chagoyas.  I miss my TX friends.

They tell us that their two youngest only pretend to be 
shy and well mannered at church and around strangers. 

We thought they were great and they loved Princess J.

They sure keep busy.

And can’t wait to start school in their new school room.

The jamin’ J’s.

And their buddy C.

Lunch at Applebee’s

Feeling the love.

We’re still here.

So happy to hang out.

One big happy family.

Shaggy Look a Like Contest

Where are those Scooby snacks?

Reluctant contestant wins hands down.  🙂

Fiesta Texas with Friends

Princess J’s friends are giants.

Ready to ride?

Chowing down.

No better place to beat the heat.

So glad to see our friends.

Our Programmer’s Birthday

Our Programmer is 18 years old.  Loves God and works hard.
What more could you ask for?

On his birthday this year we drove to home to Texas to see friends and family.
The drive from our house to the border took 7 hours.

From the border to San Antonio took another 7 hours.  We were happily surprised to discover 
Mike’s favorite restaurant, The County Line, less than a block from our hotel.
Yes, our programmer ate the whole chicken fried steak.  

Does Mike look happy?
We were all happy to have some good Texas food.

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