Monday, June 18, 2012
When I see this city at night, it reminds me of this verse in the bible. (1John 1:5-7) We heard the true teaching from God. Now we tell it to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness. So if we say that we share in life with God, but we continue living in darkness, we are liars, who don’t follow the truth. We should live in the light, where God is. If we live in the light, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood sacrifice of Jesus, God’s Son, washes away every sin and makes us clean.
I see this city full of lights....the entire city is lit up with a beautiful blinding bright light but yet the city is filled with darkness. Actually, it is a darkness that I have never known....and probably many of you have never seen with your own eyes as well. It changes you. Ohhhh please continue to pray for this city that one day they will all see the true Light of Jesus and they will no longer live in bondage. The people in Mexico will live in our hearts forever.
This blog began as a way of writing about Lottie and Emma and sharing precious memories with our family and friends. Then it became a journal about our lives as missionaries. We tried to share as much as we could but for security reasons we couldn't always show you everything and everyone that has impacted our lives. Now as we get ready for a new journey.....I feel it is time to stop blogging. I am desiring to be a more "present" mom and wife. Not that blogging takes a long time but sometimes it does for me if I have something deep to share. My family needs healing and time together. Besides praying for the Mexican people, please also pray for the Byrd's Nest as we open a new chapter in our lives. God has blessed our little family in so many ways since I began blogging.....and I can't wait to see what He has in store for our future!
I love ya'll! Honestly, I cannot BELIEVE the amazing prayer warriors and friends God has placed in my life through this blog. It is incredible how much I love the deep friendships I have with some of you and yet....I have never even hugged your neck in person! One day....ohhhh how I pray to hug each of you!
Posted by The Byrd's Nest at 4:57 PM
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Posted by The Byrd's Nest at 1:29 PM
Monday, May 28, 2012
Posted by The Byrd's Nest at 5:26 PM
Thursday, May 24, 2012
And a place in my heart will always be hers
From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew the love of a father runs deep
And I prayed that she'd find you someday
But it still hard to give her away
I loved her first"
Posted by The Byrd's Nest at 1:32 PM
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Something big happened to me last night. Some of you will read this and not think it was anything and that maybe I have eaten a few too many tacos:) But I pray that some of you will learn this lesson of trust with me. I wasn't going to write anything at all about it but only tell my family but what kind of a testimony is that! So here we go:)
I shared in my last post that in the past two years, I have been struggling with trusting the Lord. It was pretty ugly.....honestly....nothing feels worse especially when you are a missionary and people...well, let's just say they tend to think more of you than they should:) But God had taken me completely out of my comfort zone and yes.....that is where we learn the most about trusting in Him and going to Him first with our problems and worries.
Often, I get migraines. Horrible migraines that last at least three days. Never less than three days. The first two days are usually unbearable and then the third day is somewhat better and then the fourth morning when I wake up, it is usually gone. Migraines are normally triggered by "something". I have kept up with mine and I know that chocolate...yes...you may shed some tears for me....chocolate is a definite trigger. I love chocolate! Chocolate is my favorite food group!!!! If I am super desperate, I will take two migraine pills and then eat the chocolate...sick huh? A second trigger is the weather changing like from being dry to hard rains. The third trigger is stress. I'm pretty sure the last one is "the one" that does it for me these days. This past year.....all the way back to last summer this year has been filled with many....many....migraines. Like I have said before, I am not a worrier and have usually not had trouble turning things over to the Lord since I became a Christian. But....like I said in the last post...I have been somewhat rebellious:)
Last night.....out of the blue....a severe migraine hit me. Honestly, there is usually some sort of an "aura" feeling I get (please don't ask me to explain that ya'll!) and it gradually becomes worse. This time, it hit full force. Within an hour, I told the girls we were going to bed. We sold the girls bed and now the three of us sleep on a full size mattress on the floor until we leave for Texas. Emma moves constantly! I felt like I was going to throw up every time she moved. The room was moving....my stomach was terribly ill....and the left side of my head felt like it was going to explode. Also, it is hot here, the hottest time of the year and we are on the 2nd floor. There is no air conditioning here so Lottie and I go to bed with an ice pack on our necks, it doesn't seem to bother Emma. Migraines....being hot....and nausea just don't mix well, you know? I was begging Emma to be still and finally, I fell asleep. Lottie woke me up in the middle of the night because she had a bad dream.This is how bad my head was hurting. The pain was on the left side, so I had to put all of the pressure against my pillow and could only lay on my left side. Lottie was behind me. I sleep in the middle. She asked if we could switch places so she could snuggle with me so I sat up and thought I was going to be sick right there in the bed. She helped me with my pillow and everything....God bless her little self....and I laid back down again. I sang her some songs but I'm certain my lips weren't even moving from the pain and she finally fell back asleep. I was wide awake and began to cry. I began praying and sobbing and begging God to take this pain away. I prayed forever about what church Greg will pastor....where will it be.....will it be close to our big kids....giving my opinion....and then saying I'm sorry....it was the most pathetic desperate prayer. Then....all of a sudden....I felt a cool feeling on my head, all over my head (no, it wasn't the ice pack!) and then I felt a tingling feeling from my scalp down to my lower neck and then....it was gone. The migraine was gone. It completely disappeared.Never ever ever in all the years I have had migraines, have they lasted for just five or six hours....EVER! I sat up in bed without any pain or nausea....everything was gone. I began to cry again and just began this prayer of thankfulness and how I was so unworthy of that healing...especially because of my attitude. And then I fell fast asleep.
I woke up this morning and told Greg. I was still in awe of what had happened and was trying to wrap my mind around it. I kept thinking of this verse in Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding". This is what I have been doing. I had been asking God questions but not really listening for His answers. I had been trusting in my OWN thoughts.
A few hours after waking up, I had a dull headache. My first thought was, "Oh great....another migraine" but I looked over at Greg and told him that I know....with all that I am....that God took away my migraine last night because I laid everything out on the table and begged Him to take it from me. But......He has never promised us we wouldn't have any suffering or pain and part of me believes that this little dull headache is nothing more than a reminder. A reminder to trust Him with all my heart and with all my might.
Like I said.....this might sound a little "out there" but it's true and it happened to me and I am ever so thankful for a loving Father that teaches me these lessons and never gets tired of me making the same mistakes in the future. He needed to show me that HE is in control....not me. He needed to show me that HE is all powerful and I am nothing without Him. He needed me to know that He has my family's entire future in His hands and that all I need to do is...trust Him....obey Him....and follow Him. I think I can do that now:)
(Psalm 36:7-9) How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.
Posted by The Byrd's Nest at 8:44 PM
Saturday, May 19, 2012
I am going to bare my soul today, I'm certain my husband will review this post and say, "Are you sure you want to post this?" But I feel it is necessary, I feel God asking me to share my insecurities. God has been doing a great work in me. I have to say, it was pretty painful and I was pretty rebellious. Much has happened since we left Texas and then again it seems like nothing has happened. I'm sure that doesn't make any sense. I read a great book called "A Glorious Mess" by Mike Howerton. He began by asking this question......."Do you view your imperfections as a canvas for Gods glory?" Interesting question huh?
So let's think about this question..... do we think our imperfect lives are a canvas for God's glory? The author says, "I wonder if we don't see that in that moment, in that mess, just there...where we are stuck....frustrated or otherwise not all that impressive-that's where God is free to bring His glory. All throughout the scriptures, we see examples of God loving imperfect people, forgiving imperfect people and using imperfect people for great and glorious things. God's love for imperfect people is unrelenting. In fact, the bigger the mess, the more glory God seems to get".
I think it must be true. Instead of feeling bad for our messy lives and feeling like we have failed God we should praise Him for the valleys and what we learned while we were there. Mike says, "God knows exactly what your circumstances are right now. And His call is in the midst of them. His call is not for "when my life slows down" or "I get a bit more put together". God doesn't work that way. His glory does not wait until our mess is figured out-His glory works THROUGH our mess". Praise Jesus for that! He is always one step ahead of us.....He adopted us when we were a mess and He still loves us when we continue to live messy lives! Trust me.....He can use you in spite of your messy life!
I struggled with contentment so much over the last two years. I questioned my call. Even though I could see God at work in us, we never stayed in one place long enough to have deep roots....deep relationships. Maybe that is the reason I never felt at "home" or felt content. The author said, "Faith will always involve "a step". It will challenge your comfort zone. The way we think about things is a process of obedience and struggle".
Isn't that what it boils down to....our faith in God? To believe with every muscle in our being that He WILL be there for us? "Sometimes the only way God can give us peace is when we come to the end of ourselves and simply give up". And that is what I had to do....just throw up my hands and surrender. I wonder why every now and then, I end up in this same valley that I have visited before. I read somewhere that you can't jump from mountaintop to mountaintop without going through the valley:)
Trust is the key. The complete act of giving yourself and all those you love in all circumstances to Him. We have a little one that lacks in trust, Lottie. Of course, when you know the beginning of "her story", why would she trust so easily? I remember once when the little ones were about three years old, Elisabeth, the girls and I were at a BBQ place picking up dinner. There was three Chinese men behind us in line and Lottie was gripping my neck and I could barely breathe. She kept whispering in my ear, "Mommy, hold Emma". I kept telling her that I couldn't hold both of them and couldn't figure out what was wrong with her. I turned around and looked behind me and smiled at the nice men and they just stared at me....with no expressions. Unusual for Texas but not unusual for their culture:) We had our food and began to get in the car. Lottie became hysterical and kept repeating, "Put Emma in the car seat, those people are going to steal her!" I don't know what this little one witnessed in her life before we met her but she struggles with fear. Fear can be an enemy. Some fear is healthy....like fearing God. Other fears are not and can lead to anxiety and complete lack of trust in the Lord. She is my "in your face" lesson in trusting the Lord. And slowly, she is beginning to trust Him also. Often, we only study the people in the bible that lacked trust...wait...that was almost everyone in the bible:) How precious that God supernaturally wrote His book for us so that we can see that we are not so very different from those He used in those days. We are truly the modern time David....Noah....Moses....Peter and all of the others that were afraid. Maybe God allows our lives to be sifted like flour so that we will come running to our First Love?
Jonah experienced fear which led to not trusting God with the call on his life. In the end, he was obedient but oh how he struggled with the job God had given to him. In the end, "Jonah experiences transformation. He does an about face. He decides to no longer run from God but to call out to God who called him in the first place. He rejects the idols of disbelief and hopelessness that he has clung to in order to keep God at arms length. And he embraces the Lord who loves him in this mess". "God knows our deepest needs! We all need rescuing. He sees how we choose sin over purity, our way over His way. He loves us anyway and He wants for us to experience His rescue".
"On your worst day you are never out of reach of Gods grace. On your best day you are never out of need of Gods grace". (Jerry Bridges)
So you see.....it's okay to live a messy life. Don't let anyone EVER make you feel like you are not a Christ follower because of your messy life. Our messes of feeling hopeless or abandoned can lead us to a place where we throw up our hands and yell "Lord, please take this from me.....please let me see You!" The ultimate desire is always the same. We want to see Him. The love our Father has for us is overwhelming....a love that we can never know the depths or heights of...it is beyond our comprehension.
Don't beat yourself up or let others beat you up with your doubts and fears. Those doubts and fears lead us to Him every time. How wonderful that He never tires of showing us how much He loves us. "God has been painting with your life. You will see the character that He produced in you. The character of thankfulness, of courageous obedience and of joyful living. You will see the emergence of character of Jesus. You will see the darkest places in your journey have become the relief against which His grace shines. You will discover the areas of your struggle and brokenness have become the place of His great victory and your great ministry. Your mess showcases His glory."
"God WILL see MORE than you. God will see deeper than you. Move your perspective to His perspective. GRACE is His perspective. Gods plan for you means a personal journey. It is life on the pinnacles of existence; it is wonder and joy and amazement. It's a discovery of your tapping into the best and brightest parts of yourself in order to contribute something to Gods kingdom that only YOU can contribute".
The valley is a tough place to dwell but there is so much to learn while you are there....it is faith building....it is trust building. When you come out of the fire, you are a beautiful and redeemed piece of pottery. Read this book if you are needing some assurance. He has an awesome sense of humor. I really enjoyed it!
He delights in you! So delight in yourself and know that you are loved....no matter what. You might be a mess....but God sees you as a Glorious Mess. I love ya'll....thank you for always loving little ole messy me:)
Posted by The Byrd's Nest at 8:46 AM
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
Posted by The Byrd's Nest at 4:53 PM