Monday, March 31, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
(It reminds me that a story from yesterday is worth sharing.)
Yesterday, I was on the receiving end of the (seed) provision of which Sherri speaks.
I (tara) am in the USA for a few days taking care of some business. While here it made sense to do Lydie B's immunizations and a Meningitis follow-up. Jen sent me with a full report to hand to the Pediatrician. I brought Lydia to a Doctor appointment yesterday. It was with a new Doctor, one we don't know.
The Doctor asked a few questions about the Meningitis and Lyd's development, checked Lydie out and asked what we do in Haiti. Mentally, right now, I am not all that excited or pumped about any of it. I could have given her a ton of information or tried to "sell" her on it all. But, that is not what I did yesterday. I gave a short answer, without much gusto and told her in about 10 words what we do.
She finished checking Lydie out, said goodbye, and said the nurse would be in with immunizations in a few minutes.
When the nurse came in to give the shots she said, "Dr. M. asked me to give this to you." She handed me a $100 check.
I have never met that Doctor. She knows nothing about me or my work ethic. I gave her an unenthusiastic answer to her question.
Oftentimes we feel like we have to put on our best face, give the best "pitch" - or be perfect in order to receive His provision. Wrong and wrong.
For me it was a picture of God's care for us. It was a reminder that while I am not in a spot where I am 100% pumped up about much of anything --- and even though I am working through some big questions -- He still loves me and He will still provide for us in unusual ways and without my enthusiasm or understanding. He does not need me to get things done. He provides in spite of me. It was a kiss from God on a day that I needed to be reminded that He is with me, even in my confused places of wrestling, wondering and waiting.
Have a great weekend. May God meet you where you are too.
We've very much felt like we're in a holding pattern of sorts and because of our desire to be done waiting and wondering - and to be free from uncomfortable unknowns --- this post worked for me. I know plenty of you are in the midst of waiting too. Here is some encouragement for us all -as we wait it out in our own individual circumstances. ~tara
I worked the Suns game that Saturday night. Fans came through the doors from the parking garage and the street, coats damp and dripping, no one complaining. When you’ve been dry and dusty for five months, you welcome the shower. Wet rubber soles squeaked on the floor and folks stopped to wipe off their glasses before moving along the concourse. It was easy to see the rain made people happy. It had been 143 days. Now the wait was over. The rain came.
We do a lot of waiting.
In Phoenix, we wait for rain. In Seattle, they wait for sunshine. We all wait in line at the grocery store. Some waiting is expected. No one in their right mind ever goes to the Social Security office or the Department of Motor Vehicles expecting to be in and out in five minutes. Some waiting we plan for.
It’s waiting when we didn’t plan to wait that is the hardest.
Like waiting for a job when we’ve been unemployed two months after the savings runs out. Waiting for the doctor to say this round of chemo therapy finally worked. Waiting for a baby to place in the nursery that’s been ready, and empty, for years. Waiting for that estranged relationship to be reconciled.
This is the waiting that exasperates and exhausts us. And if we’re honest, it is a waiting that frustrates and angers us. Because deep down, whether we admit it or not, we realize we’re waiting on God. He could do something about it if He wanted to. So why doesn’t He? Why doesn’t He do something? Anything to show us a glimpse of forward progress?
Most of the time we want our waiting to be over because we’re ready for a change of scenery. We want to be delivered from our immediate circumstances.
All we can see is what’s in front of us.
God has a different vantage point. He sees the big picture.
Though it pains me to say it, our waiting may be God’s working.
Abraham was an old and childless man when God promised him a son. If it was a hilarious thought that at 75 years old Abraham would be shopping for bottle warmers and a bouncy seat, then it was beyond incredible for him to be in the delivery room at age 100. But that’s what happened. God promised Abraham a son. And delivered on His promise 25 years later. They named him Isaac. It means “laughter”. Being a new dad when you’re 100 is pretty funny.
We can read the account in the book of Genesis and we can wonder about the wait. But God must have had His reasons.
Albert Baylis put it this way,
“It appears God wants to do more with Abraham than drop promises on him. Abraham had received an irrevocable promise from God. But being God’s candidate for blessing is not a trip to Disneyland. Because God is going to bless Abraham, he’s going to make him into a man of faith. Because He is going to make Abraham a blessing, God will take whatever time is necessary. And God has never let time bother Him.”
Time bothers us. But it doesn’t bother God.
If you’re waiting, know that God is working. It’s ok to yell and scream about it. It’s ok to wonder how and why. The Bible is full of people who, in the middle of their dry dust wait, threw up their questions to God. No worries. He is big enough to handle them. You may not get the answers you like. You may not get answers at all. But this much is true. God always delivers on His promises. In His time and in His way. And always for your good and His glory.
Hang in there.
The rain is coming.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Perhaps winter’s depth brings it out. Every year we freeze a little piece of summer, unwrapping it for Winter Games. We enjoy it. Then it melts away. Ground Hog Day seems to promise more winter again and again. Men fear the Valentine’s Day test. Lenten fasts are early this year. The President is a lame duck. The economy tanks. We hear about more lay-offs than hirings. The neighbor’s house has been on the market forever. Our national political saga toggles between ugly attack and nuanced conciliation.
Depressed yet? There was a Bible character called Gideon. Gideon’s people, Israel , were under attack. Midian was out to get Gideon. He tried to stay safe and productive by threshing grain in the recesses of a winepress. God wouldn’t let Him stay safe. An angel appeared to declare Gideon a “mighty warrior” telling him to stand for all that is right and good. Gideon caught a bad case of the “yah buts,” but as in all arguments with angels, he won by losing. He asked God to strengthen him with a sign. God showed up in ways for which polite religion has no categories. They called the meeting place “Jehovah Shalom,” meaning “the Lord is peace.” Then, possessing a new peace and quiet, Gideon ended his hiding and set out to fight injustice and unbelief. He no longer fought from fear or anger, but from quiet inner strength and settled faith.
Whatever the issue, whatever your perspective, the peace of God will serve you and your opponents. It can yield inward tranquility and outward civility. Gideon’s peace and quiet, like ours, was not found in the absence of challenge, suffering, or difficulty. Rather, God was his peace and quiet, wherever he went, whatever he faced.
Rough times are a test for us all. Do we have inner peace? Or have we settled for a substitute like managing circumstances for maximum comfort? External peace won’t last. Inner peace won’t leave. As more and more of us healthily engage the conflicts of life from deep wells of supernatural peace, some battles will be averted. Unavoidable differences can be engaged more nobly. In any case, before going to war, it is good to go to God. Wherever you go, take His peace.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
We are so blessed to know you and call you our daughter. We pray this year will be another incredible one filled with His peace and provision.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
Yesterday Phoebe dropped one of Noah's 748 dinosaurs through the bars. It was sitting about where Isaac is standing. There is a ledge that runs all the way around the house. The dinosaur landed on the ledge. Noah asked me if I would climb out there and get it. I told him that I *would* but when I was ready, not right then. I reminded him he still had 747 dinosaurs to play with until I got out there. It is tricky going out there because you have to get around the Satellite dish. It is also no less than 30 feet off the ground, maybe more. He nagged me on and off for about two hours. Finally he stopped nagging. When he asked to go outside and look for the kittens I got him ready and sent him out.
About two minutes later I was in the office and I heard Hope say, "NOAH!!! WHAT are you DOING?!!!" Her tone of voice told me it was more than just torturing the cat. I came onto the porch just as Noah climbed back over the rail at the place where the garbage can sits. He had his Velociraptor dinosaur in hand. It was one of those moments where you are just too thankful to see your kid standing in front of you alive to be mad. The rest of the afternoon we walked around shaking our heads at what could have happened had he misjudged a step as he walked the ledge. Today Troy will be fashioning a barbed wire contraption that prevents such a stunt from ever happening again.
Troy made it back safely from his trip. He had a great time. He and Luke (the friend he went with) turn into 13 year olds when they are together. We had fun watching the goofy videos they made. The people at COTP were "awesome" and "totally normal" - which is high praise.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Saturday, March 15, 2008
This is strength; this is peace; to feel, in entering on every day, that all its duties and trials have been committed to the Lord Jesus — that, come what may, He will use us for His own glory and our real good!" -John Paton
Friday, March 14, 2008
I thought you should all see it and it's fishing pole holding feature up close.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
"Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you. "
- St. Augustine of Hippo
I need him for balance, reassurance, strength, and the occasional "Get it together woman!!" speech. And he needs me for .... uh, hum ... he needs me for .... ahem ... er, think Tara, think!
Oh yeah, he needs me for details. I am his detail assistant. And, I also change diapers.
I am good at details and consider myself relational. (Still selectively social - but relational.) Last night I was doing something that I do often. I was filling him in on the people he might meet in Cap Haitian. I was telling him which kids are being adopted to people we know and which names match up with certain ministries. I can keep dates, stories, relationship connections, details, etc. fairly straight. This is not Troy's strength. After about six different sentences that started with, "Now remember" and then went "so and so is from Minnesota - had a baby - and they know our friends so and so ...."
Finally Troy said, "Stop! They are all getting mixed up in my head. I am going to get up there and ask the wrong person about their daughter who works with your friend and give condolences on the death of the baby to the one who just found out they are pregnant. STOP!"
So, if you are in Cap Haitian and you run into Troy between now and Sunday I think you should mess with him and tell him he got you mixed up with someone else, even if he got it right. Maybe even act offended or hurt. Cry if you want.
All of the "ladies" in this house (as Isaac calls us - he'll say, "well hello ladies" when he walks in) decided that Troy wears his clothes too big and a few shirts are too ugly to be seen. We all hate the new yellow shirt he got. He wears it at least once a week, maybe twice. The last time we were folding we collectively decided it should disappear. I don't know *who* ended up putting it down in Phoebe's dresser, but someone did. (Read: Paige) As Troy packed for his trip he kept saying, "I can't find that yellow shirt." This morning, the guilt got to me and I innocently suggested he check the kids' dressers. Jen, Tess, Paige and I all agree - it is a shirt that only a 70 year old man should wear. In 37 years we can re-think it. But, because I could not bear to watch him search for it any longer, Troy is headed to Cap Haitian in the ugliest shirt you've ever seen. It has a stinking place to put a fishing pole people, really, it does.
I *would* post a photo of the shirt. But I care too much about you.
Apart from all this teasing, (that I know Troy will read tonight) I should note that I love Troy- I love him soooo much. I am lucky. I am constantly in awe of the ways he has grown. He might still like ugly clothes and he might not be able to keep everyone and their life story straight --- but he is truly one of the kindest people I know. He is calm, loving, funny, smart, and a fearless leader of our family.
I will miss you this weekend honey! (But not your shirt.) Have a fun time and be safe - or relatively safe.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
- Tess is staying in Haiti an extra week ... 8 more days of sanity -Hurray!!
- Troy's Mongolian beef that he made for dinner tonight
- The two kittens that we have are killing ANPIL mice
- The weather the last few days (breezy and no humidity)
- Troy gets to go on a Cap Haitian adventure tomorrow (and is bringing a camera)
- Tess and Jen are back to blogging
- LOST and our ability to watch it each week together
- The fact that I am successfully soaking in and enjoying babyhood with Lydie
- Phoebe's growing ability to talk and sign (today she signed please - then said POP) (Yes it is bad she wants pop, but let us enjoy the victory of a new word)
- Having someone who loves chocolate and desert as much as me to justify baking brownies multiple times a week - thanks Tess!
Things that are not very good: (opposition swinging on hinges or something like that)
- The renter for the MN house - fell through :(
- The Subur-den needs someone to love her and buy her too
- The way Jen just freaked out that Peanut had a mouse - but it turned out to be a pacifier
- Sharing the deserts Tess makes with Hope who always seems to know - even when we hide them or claim there are vegetables underneath the chocolate
- Missing American Idol and this season of Dancing with the Stars
- The thief with the pretty tennis shoes was never found
This makes us think of opposition differently, doesn't it?
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
He adopts things from both cultures and falls squarely in the middle of the two. As soon as we get him a bulb syringe we can help his switch over to western ways of cleaning out a baby's nose. *That* will be nicer for everyone. ;) (Just when you got over gagging, we bring back the visual for you.)
He is one of the most interesting people to spend a day with because he likes to talk. He likes to talk a lot. He thinks out loud and it matters not if you feel like joining in a conversation, sitting and listening works just fine for him.
We get a kick out of the things that bug him. So much of what bugs him is stuff we just laugh at now and shrug our shoulders.
Peter rages about the way people drive. One day we were on our road behind a loaded down tap-tap. (You know the joke, right? Q. How many people will fit onto a tap-tap? A. One more. Bah-dum-dum) Peter starts into a royal crabbing session that went something like this - "Oh my gosh, why do they do that? Why do they think they can put that many people on one truck? What is that driver thinking? He will never make enough money with the extra people to pay off the truck repairs that are going to be needed because of all of that weight. Oh that is so stupid."
Peter is great at working out issues between employees. Troy usually just says, "work it out or else." Once there were two cooks fighting. To Troy it sounded like total craziness, something along the lines of a Noah and Hope fight. One cook said that the other cook could not have children because she was a werewolf and the one who had been called the name was incredibly upset and was going to sue. (Litigious societies span the globe.) We don't know exactly how he does it, but Peter seems to help people work out their odd grievances.
One thing we've learned living here is that stories evolve. Rarely - okay, never - does a story get told and retold the same way twice. It is almost never clear what the real story is. Peter does a great job of telling the Americans the parts he knows they care about, and leaving out the drama and embellishments.
Last night when something was stolen and Troy asked if anyone got a description of the person who had taken the item - the description given was "Li gen bel tennis" or "He had nice/pretty tennis shoes." HA! Find a perpetrator based on that description. We're tacking up posters with that information all over town. ;-)
Everyone was up in arms about it, except us. Troy sort of shrugged, chuckled and went back to what he was doing. There are so many things you cannot control, petty theft is just one of many. Letting go of the idea that you can micromanage things is rule number one. There is a ton of freedom in learning that lesson. It again goes back to the "check your motives, pray for guidance, and be ready to make mistakes" thing. We cannot fix everything, and in fact fixing things (or trying to change culture) is not really our business.
The following two paragraphs are taken from an article written by Noel Becchetti. The entire article he wrote is linked here. We speak only for ourselves in agreeing with what he says, it is worth reading and thinking about. When you have time, check it out and see what *you* think.
Have you read Matthew 25:31-40 lately? It's one of Jesus' most significant discourses. After all, he's articulating the actions by which God decides who's going to heaven and who's headed You Know Where. What's fascinates me in this passage is what he doesn't say. Do you notice what he leaves out in his charge to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and minister to the sick? He says nothing about what results are supposed to be achieved through these actions. There's no talk about ending hunger, defeating poverty, or seeing the prisoner go straight. He says simply to Do It, because when we do, we're somehow ministering directly to Our Lord.
Jesus gives us the freedom to go into our mission and service trips with the goal of just plain ministering. We don't have to achieve certain "results" to justify our investment. Frankly, we might not recognize some of God's divine results when we see them! But as we can remove our cultural blinders, discard the limitations we place on God's definition of ministry, and "leave the driving" to Him, we can begin to understand what it means to be Jesus' hands and feet to a hurting world.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Sunday, March 9, 2008
(Photo of Dinosaur & Transformer show Isaac created for the oh-so-interested Lydia last month.)