Thursday, June 30, 2011

Crazy Blessed

Crazy Blessed.
     That's the only way I can describe the whirlwind that is my life right now. I knew there would be gaps in this blog, so I'll try to fill in some spaces.
     Three weeks ago my youngest, Becca, her husband and toddler, Lyzee came from California to visit and finish up arrangements for their move to Malawi, Africa. Luke and Becca met in 2004 on a mission trip to Gambia with Royal Servants. After returning to their respective states, they started 'dating' long distance then 'close-up' as they attended Moody Bible College. Their hearts continued to return to the African people and they made several trips back to Gambia as well as spending a summer in Uganda. After marrying and graduating with degrees in International Ministries (Luke) and Evangelism/Discipleship (Bec) they joined with SIM to be part of a sports & discipleship program in Malawi.  blog
     Monday, Bob & I left Luke and our baby and her baby at O'Hare to travel 8,612 miles to follow God's will for their lives. For His Glory.
     Ever since they started making plans, I have been prepping myself for what could be the heartbreak of 'losing a child,' but God had other plans. He has been using so many things to show me what is truly important in this life and that Jesus Christ is worth losing everything for.... whether it's our dream of a little 'Reed Family Compound' in the country with all our grandchildren living in a circle around us.... or that 'once in a lifetime' two week scenic cruise to Alaska...or being able to wake up to a chubby little blondie who loves books, giggles over oatmeal and who constantly asks, "Who's that? and "What's that?"
     God calls us to be willing to abandon everything for the cause of Christ.
Phil 3:7-12
 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.  I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
     Yesterday, we helped our second daughter, Laura and her husband pack up all their belongings to move to Milwaukee, where Jon will begin a three year fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. Now 184 miles is not across an ocean, but compared to 'just down the road,' it's a lot. We see them several times a week and keep the boys most Friday evenings. We are so proud that even though Jonathan had offers to join local pediatric practices, he is choosing what God laid on his heart since he was in jr. high, even if it means another move and 3 more years until they can return and settle into the life they imagine.
     We have learned that becoming passionate about God's will for your life is worth giving up Friday night Wii marathons between a 6 y/o old boy and his 66 y/o grandpa. Worth losing Sunday afternoons full of half a dozen squealing grandchildren, diving into the pool yelling, "Look at me!!" Worth the sacrifice of a young mother whose husband spends countless nights on-call at the hospital, as she struggles with the demands of being a 'single' parent.
      He's worth it.
Phil 3:13b-14
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
     And then there is one. Our oldest, Jennifer and her family are currently undergoing their own 'life change.' A couple of months ago, Jen and Michael told us God was leading them to begin the process of adoption. blog  It's crazy to think that some blessed, little Ethiopian boy, half way around the world is someday going to come home to the cutest and sweetest sisters any boy ever had... that in the cornfields of IL there are friends and family praying for him at this very minute.
     We've learned that following the Lord is worth mountains of paperwork.... social workers poking their way through not only your home and your finances, but every personal detail of your life. We believe by faith, that He knows not only what is good, but what is BEST for our family. Worth taking a total stranger into your heart and your into your home and surrounding him with love.
James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
     So all I can say is:
We are crazy blessed.
     Life changes that at one time would have caused me heartbreak, bring joy and peace. Perfect Peace. For my good and for His Glory.
Jeremiah 29:11-13
 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Saying Yes

Some time ago, after a major birthday, I had one of those 'woodshed' times with God. For 50 years I had been very busy with undeniably very good things. My goal was not to waste a minute of the time I had been given in this life. What I seldom considered was, what were the best things to do with the time and talent He had given me.  Not enough time had been spent listening to what He deemed best for my good and for His gloryI made the decisions about my life's goals and aspirations. The busier the better, right?

After a series of lessons and sermons from varying sources, I was at a crossroad. "Now what?" Do I continue making my own plans for what He 'expected' from me or was I obedient to what He told me to do and if so, what do I do?

What I heard in the 'woodshed' was "Just say yes." Anytime I knew the Lord was leading me to do something, would I say "Yes." Not more, not less. I promised if He would make it clear it was from Him, I would.

Last year, saying yes required that I would open my home to my elderly mother. Time had taken its tole on both her mind and her body. Dementia had taken her once sharp mind. She would require total care. He had provided me with the home and skills for the job. It was time to say yes.

Saying yes is not the easy path but teaches us life lessons. In the middle of an very emotionally and physically taxing 'mom' day, I was at my wits end.  "I can't do this, Lord. You don't understand, this is just too hard, day after day. You wouldn't ask me to do this. I can't do this any more."

"So" He said to me. "You promised me you would say yes. You promised that no matter what I asked, you would do it.  If I asked  those you love the most to leave and serve me, you'd give them to me. You laid everything on the table and said if I asked you to give up every worldly possession and move across the world, you would. Right now, I'm asking you to stay in your fancy, schamancy air-conditioned house with all its fancy stuff and take care of your own parent and you're saying "No?"

What a wake up call.

Eight months later, He was calling her home. For several days, I did very little but sit at her bedside as she lingered. While there, I received a text from Rachel telling me she was returning to Ethiopia this summer and did I want to go? Say yes.

Yes. By summer Mom would be home and He was calling me to the next thing.

So here I am, soon to be Ethiopia bound.  Mom even left me the money to be able to go, which probably wouldn't have been there if it she'd had to give it for nursing home care.

For my good and for His glory.