Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fleshly Wants vs. Desires of Our Hearts

For anyone who has followed this blog for the past year, it is clear that nothing has gone the way that we anticipated. Last year at this time, we thought that we would be in Nicaragua doing mission work right now. Our plans changed, but the One we follow had a plan that was immovable.

We began looking to the next step on our path. I had a few criteria for our next home.
  1. I wanted to go westward, preferably California.
  2. I wanted to be close to a seminary, not an extension.
  3. I was looking for a large city.
  4. I also hoped for a place with an autism center that provided all of the care that the neurologist who diagnosed DeLaynie recommended.

Well, we don't always get what we want (Praise the Lord!!!). Here's how our new home stacks up:

  1. We live in Northern New York, which is pretty far east.
  2. There is a seminary extension three hours away, but it's not really an option for me at this time.
  3. Our village is just that- a village. It's not big enough to qualify as a town, never mind a city.
  4. DeLaynie goes to a generalized special education class at the public school.

If you read this post and think that I'm disappointed, you're wrong. All the things that I listed above are simply wants. They don't seem fleshly. They all seem like good things, but God didn't place those desires within me. The desires that God gave me look more like this:

  1. A place where there are lost people who have few Christians to reach them.
  2. Somewhere that Edwin's style of ministry is accepted well enough by the church that it can be effective. (Like it or not, this matters.)
  3. I long to be able to use some of the gifts that God has given me to do something other than support Edwin. Don't get me wrong, I love being a pastor's wife, and it is always my main area of ministry, but God just didn't design me to make that my only ministry.
  4. An education for DeLaynie that accepts her strengths and her weaknesses without constantly comparing them to symptom lists for various disorders. (Allow me to say that I'm actually very glad that DeLaynie isn't in an autism program at this point. Her teachers help DeLaynie to be the very best DeLaynie she can be without worrying about diagnoses. Next year, she should be able to be in the regular education preschool class with an aide!)

In these things, God has been incredibly faithful. I love our new home. I love our church. I love the potential that the local children of God have to reach the world around them. It's not what I expected, but it is so much more! And you want to know the things that excites me the most? The training we received to do mission work has completely changed the way that I see local church ministry! I know that we are more effective here because of it, and I thank God for the disappointment and pain that it took to get us here. He is completely worth it!

Lord, please let us be faithful as we labor in Your name.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Individuality Defined

How Ella enjoys a lovely, snowy day...

How DeLaynie enjoys a lovely, snowy day...

Both wonderful. Both beautiful. Both of my girls are a joy to parent (most of the time).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Contemplations on the King

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

Lord, You are good. I stand amazed in who You are, enthralled by a King who provides for His children so completely. The thought of You, pursuing me, making me Your bride, it boggles me. You provide me with Your Truth. You envelope me with Your grace. You bind my heart to Yours with the unfathomable power of Your Sprirt. Your sufficiency propels me forward, and drops me to my knees. Your love is overwhelming and incomprehensible. There are no words to describe it, and no thoughts to capture it.

You have paid my debt on my behalf. You bought my forgiveness through the blood of Your Son. You have created a way for unholy, imperfect, unclean humans to have a relationship with a completely holy, entirely perfect, purely good God. An adulteress, murderer, liar, hypocrite, and chief of all sinners, I stand before You clean through the death, burial, and, Praise Your Name!, resurrection of Your Son. The only good within me is what You have imparted to me through His sacrifice.

May my identity fade. May my life melt beneath Your grace like a sand castle beneath the waves of the ocean. Define me. Change me. Recreate me through Your power by way of Your Spirit. Release me from the chains of self-sufficiency. Allow every word that proceeds from my mouth to bring You glory. Make my every step an expression of love for You.

Your cross is big enough for the sins committed against me, and it's big enough for the sins I've committed against You. There is no greater life than the one that reveals who You are to a world that cannot comprehend You. Father, help me to cling to the sufficiency that You alone provide. I long to abound in every good work. For You are abundantly good, and I am all Yours.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Christmas 2009, Concluded

We received some Christmas presents this weekend, concluding the month-long celebration of Christ's birth. Because Edwin's mom has only been home from rehab (due to medical issues resulting from double pneumonia) for a couple of weeks, the location of some of the Christmas presents was difficult to determine. I used this as an excuse for our Christmas tree staying up. (You really can't open gifts without the Christmas tree, can you?) Granted, it's still up. I'm not sure when that's going to change.

Ella opening the first box. She instantly spotted the lunchbox with "meeeeeeows" on it.

I think DeLaynie's favorite part was the hat, gloves, and scarf set starring Dora.

In weightloss news, I lost 3 or 4 pounds last week! I have 16 left before I hit the goal as published in the newspaper. I guess that I should get on the treadmill now.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

Last week I received a phone call. "I have a funny question," the sweet and somewhat pensive voice said.

"Funny, hahaha, or funny, weird?" I quipped. (I'm sure she's never heard such a clever remark.)

"Funny weird.... Would you like to be on a team for a weight-loss contest through the paper?" The voice was still sweet, but maybe a little less sweet.

Honestly, it didn't bother me. She and I had talked about the fact that I wanted to lose some weight. I didn't really want to lose that much weight, but I figured that it couldn't hurt. The contest pits teams of three against each other to see which team can lose the greatest percentage of their original body weight. Each team is sponsored by a company. The team members can win a financial incentive, and the sponsoring company can win a half page ad.

So yesterday I went to a weigh-in and had my picture taken. Apparently, this contest is the material for an entire special section of the paper. Great. I wasn't skimpy on clothing or jewelry. I would like to think that this method was effective because their scale deemed me five pounds heavier than mine. I don't like their scale.

For the next 16 weeks, I'll be working my rear off (hopefully, literally) to see just how much weight I can lose. I'll keep you updated. I was going to provide you with a before pic, but I'm bundled up in all of my recent pictures. You'll just have to pretend to be impressed with the after picture. You have a few weeks to work on your surprised typing.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Dear Colt McCoy,

(I know. I'm an Alabama fan. I shouldn't be writing fan letters to the other team's quarterback. But I'm a Christian before a football fan, and I would be amiss to not use this opportunity to recognize a testimony of God's grace and power in the life of one of His people.)

I know that this is not how you imagined your last game in college football. I know that the disappointment must be overwhelming. I am very sorry that you ended your college career helplessly on the sideline.

I have to say, though, that it points to the sovereignty of our God that He authored such a complete testimony from a single player's life. We've seen you win with grace. We've seen you lose with grace. Now we've seen you sit out with grace. The last is definitely the greatest challenge, but you rose to that challenge. As your Christian sister, I am grateful for your faithfulness. Thank you for using every opportunity to speak with grace, and for not missing a chance to point to the One who matters above all else.

I'm an Alabama fan, so I was very happy to see my team win. But I gained the most pride from you, Mr. McCoy. Keep standing on the Rock, dear brother. See you in the NFL!

Hannah A.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Oh, The Difference 20 Degrees Can Make!

We had the privilege of hosting several family members over the holiday. First Edwin's dad and step-mom came, and then my parents and brother made the trek up to North Country. Edwin and I recently discovered one of the great experiences of a northern winter, and we wanted to share it with our families. Thus we all went out to enjoy a genuine horse-drawn sleigh ride through the woods. (One of the families in our church hosts such rides.)
The first day was perfect. It was about 25 degrees and snowing ever-so-lightly. We had a great time.

DeLaynie discovered a love for campfires and roasting marshmallows, as long as she didn't have to get within five feet of the actual fire.

The second time, when my parents were in town, wasn't quite as ideal. It was 6 degrees and snowing heavily. We excitedly bundled up and crammed ourselves into the van.

We still had a great time, but by the end, some of us had given up on having a positive attitude.

Indeed, fun was had, and memories were made!