Isaiah 43:1-3, 7, 10-13

But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior... Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.... “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?”
Isaiah 43:1-3, 7, 10-13

Friday, October 12, 2012

Top Ten Furlough Highlights

After weeks of best intentions, I finally have finished the blog post about our US assignment....  Although we were exhausted by the end from all of the traveling (we drove from Michigan to Oklahoma to Arkansas to Nebraska to Wyoming to Colorado to Kansas to Texas and back to Michigan with a quick flight to Pennsylvania for Josh as well), we were blessed beyond measure by all the fellowship and memories we made. 

1.  Greenfield Village with Nyanya and Babu

2.  Summer Jam at Livonia Church of Christ - the girls first VBS experience!

3.  Vacation with Nyanya and Babu at Lake Michigan

4.  4 generations on the Marcum family ranch

5.  Family Pictures 2012

6.  Sikes Reunion 2012

7.  Reuniting with old friends

8.  Legoland with Matt and Janille

9.  Time with Family in Michigan

And last but not least!
10.  Time with the Harrold family in Wichita where we were pampered beyond belief (from Chuckie Cheese's for the kids, to a shopping spree and a massage for me, to dinner out)... unfortunately due to loosing my camera on our trip back to Ecuador (big bummer!), I don't have any pictures of our time together.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

5 Reflections from CCC

1.  It is a million times harder to travel with children!  Traveling by myself I actually get to sleep, read, watch the in-flight entertainment, visit, window shop... rather than entertain, feed, chase, discipline, put to sleep, hold, distract, intervene, pacify... you get the picture!  By myself, a 10 hour lay-over is long, but not dreadful.
2.  I got to enjoy meals not cooked by me when they were hot, go to sleep when I wanted to go to sleep, exercise when I wanted to exercise, sleep through the night without waking up once, enjoy extended adult conversations without interruptions, bask in extended solitude time (hours by myself every day enjoying God's creation!), worship and learn without distraction, listen to lessons I didn't have to prepare myself, laugh and be silly, cry, listen to God.  Basically, I was given space to get back to the 'me' underneath all my roles and responsibilities.

3.  "Look at the fingerprints of God in the mundane and the pivotal.  God has already written the end of the story and is working backwards to make it happen.  Where is the redemption in your story?  What is God restoring?  What is God reconciling?"

4.  "Our mission is to love well and create space for others to be loved well by God."

5. "It is in solitude that we come to experience the 'silence of God' and so receive the inner silence that is the craving of our heart.  Take advantage of the 'little solitudes' that fill our day - little moments that help us to be genuinely present where we are." /  "Settle yourself in solitude and you will come upon Him in yourself." Teresa of Avila
Thank you to all of you who made the CCC conference possible this year!  It is such an amazing gift to be able to participate in this event.  In conclusion, I'd like to share the psalm I developed in our psalm writing activity:

Psalm of "Entrega" (spanish word for 'surrender')
O God, you are my refuge and my source.  Who can compare with you?
You are astoundingly creative, you are incomparably gracious and I bless your Holy name.
I have seen the beauty of your handiwork in the butterfly's wings and
the ocean's tide pools, and I open my mouth to speak your praises.
You have blessed me in my being with silence and solitude
and have filled me to overflowing through your love. 
You have helped me to rest in your grace and peace and I give you thanks.
I want to praise you with my life, serve you with my whole being, but I am weak and needy.
Forgive me when I take everything on myself, which is idolatry, and
give my the courage and strength to entrust all needs to you.
I submit to your loving hand and offer you my rule of life because
you alone can fill me to overflowing.