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Practice What You Preach… In This Moment…

December 24, 2012

Practice What You Preach…

Well things have been hard lately.  I’d like to get on here and say that since we’ve returned we have had a fire in our steps… been refueled… rejuvenated!  But I have been fighting myself.  And I happen to be my toughest opponent.  Actually, my steps have felt heavier and my low fuel light seems to be stuck on.  I am not sure if getting a taste of home was the best idea… The kids have been arguing a lot and John and I have had a few disagreements as well.  Kendall has had an especially rough time.  She kept snapping at people and Angel seemed to really be getting under her skin.  She would cry randomly and spend a lot of her time by herself.  I had a talk with her.  The thing is, she absolutely loved staying at Pastor Jason’s ranch and just wants to be back home in Texas with a horse and a dog and a porch…  She’s been watching Little House on the Prairie and wishes we were living like them.  I do understand her and there are times when I catch a moment to see how big my kids are getting, how soon they’ll be off on there own, making their own decisions.  And that is what makes me realize that that American dream I have always had of land, a wrap around porch, two cars in the drive, and possibly a RV or  boat, 😉  is not what my children need.  Sure it’s what we all want, but what they need is to take up their cross and follow Jesus.  I told Kendall that every morning I get on my knees and pray for God to give me love for Angel, and for the people, and for the ministry here, because honestly I don’t always have it.  I said remember what your Dad preached about, rejoicing in the trials, being like the donkey stuck in the old well that was being buried alive. He just shook off the dirt and took a step up each time it was shoveled on…  Or the kids in the back seat, always asking, ‘Are we there yet,’ because they’re not mature enough yet to know how long it takes to get somewhere.  I continued with something like this, ‘Kendall you are not solving anything with your anger or a bad attitude.  God has entrusted our family to be Angel’s family, just as He has entrusted me to be your mom.  But more importantly He has entrusted you to be her big sister.  It is completely up to you how you want to handle it, but you will not ever mature in this area unless you choose to step up, to not let your anger lead you, and understand that she hasn’t had the same life that we have had.  Kendall, God made you my oldest daughter and you are such a blessing to me.  I hope that you choose to honor God and be a blessing to your new sister.  He knows you can, and I know you can, but you have choose it.  No one will force you.’ You see I was also preaching to myself.  ‘Mandi… you can choose to have heavy steps and follow God merely in obedience, or you can choose to honor God with what He has entrusted you, by rejoicing as you follow…

Sunday was great!  The sermon was about bearing fruits, not a request but a command.  Ever since the beginning of time, God told us to be fruitful…  Adam and Eve, Noah, Jacob…  Being fruitful is in our genetics.  Fruitfulness is the mark of a Christian.  Just as we Christians have been given life through Jesus, what good are we if we bear no fruit for Him?  Paul writes in Colossians 1:10, And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work growing in the knowledge of God.  In Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.  So many times we are told to be fruitful, be fruitful, be fruitful!  How much fruit have I bore?  How much should I bear?  John 15:8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples…  I have read this phrase many times, but for the first time I have realized how often it is written, and just as Pastor Dan said on Sunday, God is not saying please go and bear fruit… He is saying ‘go’ bear fruit.  After church we went visiting in Bahong village, house to house, praying with and for the people.  Bahong has some steep, slippery,  rocky areas and my legs got such a good work out.  😉

In This Moment…

I last wrote what you have just read above on December 18, and a lot has changed since then. In fact, I thought about not even posting what I had written at all because that feeling is so distant from me now.  But it’s the truth and therefore I couldn’t take it off… I am so blessed to be here.  We have been so busy but this is the kind of busy I love.  Two nights ago, as I sat in a room full of people, eating rice and chicken, with a group of young men singing songs they had written for the Lord, I was so overwhelmed that I couldn’t stop the welling up of tears.  It had been a wonderful day… Just an hour before, a young man, that has blessed our hearts so much, cried in the arms of my husband who cried with him.  I am crying now as I write this. I wish I could describe to you this feeling I have, of overwhelming joy, of weightlessness, of things not of this world. A feeling of ‘this is the life!’ You know that song, “People Need the Lord,”…  It was written by 2 song writers who were sitting in a restaurant, looking around at all the hurt in people.  One said to the other, “You know people need the Lord.”  Ain’t that the truth!  So many people who’ve ‘had it all,’ have taken their own lives because once they climbed to the point of everything they thought would make them happy, they had nothing left to strive for, no more ambitions to hope for, and discovered a smothering loneliness they couldn’t find a remedy to.  If only they had known God… Who needs the ‘American Dream’ when you embrace the love of the Father!  I say all this as I’m scratching my head because those little menacing friends of ours called lice have made there way back into our lives.  I say this as I am waiting for the delivery of water so that we can at least flush the toilets.  I say this without a Christmas tree or stockings or  Christmas lights.  I say this, not because I am complaining, but because I want you to know how perfectly happy I am.  I am in the Lords army.  All those songs I sang when I was younger make total sense to me now.  “I Am In The Lord’s Army, Walking In The Light, Jesus Loves Me This I Know…”  You know I came here to minister to these people, but you know what, they minister to me.  Through them I have learned how to praise my God with every part of my being, with all that is within me.  Right now I feel like the shepherds who were in the fields tending the sheep.  An angel appeared to them and announced the birth of Jesus.  Then more appeared and sang praises.  They rushed to find him, and when they found Jesus, they were so excited to spread the news.  I just want to run and spread the news, the excitement of it has overtaken me.  Last night I was so blessed again with tears of joy as we had a Christmas celebration with the children of Bahong.  I am sure there were about 100 kids or more celebrating with us, along with their parents, and others from the church.  I got to watch tribal dances and was even pulled into dancing in one!  I was so embarrassed at first but I loved it.  Everyone laughed and cheered and clapped and joined us as we danced to the beat of the drums.  The kids thought it was the most hillarious thing ever.  Riley had tears of laughter in his eyes when I sat back down.  And then we helped distribute school supplies and snacks to all the children who were so excited to receive them.  The theme of it all was ‘The Greatest Gift of All… A Special Night For the Children.’  I want to express my thanks to you!  We requested, with very short notice, help in purchasing these items for the kids, and within a few short days, just over a thousand came in.  Praise God and thank you so much!  I will post pics as soon as I can.  Maligayang Pasko! (Merry Christmas!)  Count your blessings… name them one by one…  We have received the greatest gift of all! 🙂

Oh and one more thing, Kendall had been choosing to embrace her role as big sister… 🙂   Mandi sig

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. billy frady permalink
    December 24, 2012 10:57 pm

    How beautifully stated-the first truth and then His truth!  Mandi, I knew that Kendall’s heart would respond to the Lord’s calling, because you and John have set the example in your home.  Thank you again for sharing.  It was so wonderful to see you all.  The children are growing up so quickly, but that is God’s plan.  Amen.  God bless you all and Merry Christmas!  Suzanne & Billy Frady

    ________________________________

  2. December 25, 2012 3:09 pm

    Thank you both. God bless you and merry Christmas! 🙂

  3. January 7, 2013 1:50 am

    Love reading your posts Mandi! Thank you for being a humbled servant for our Heavenly Father. Look up Heb 10:24.
    Love you very much.

  4. January 8, 2013 12:56 am

    Happy New Year!! We were reading your post over breakfast today (Tori and Chrissy like for me to read it aloud) and are just amazed at everything you do. Brother Jason had a message last night at church. Did you know that the Greek translation for Witness is the same as for Martyr? So when the Bible says to be a Witness for Christ, It’s also saying be a Martyr for Christ…ie put yourself aside and put Christ first. I was thinking of your family while he was going through the lesson. You truely are being Martyr’s for Christ. He is first, you are second. I think some go their entire lives fighting this, but you have jumped in and as such have “Jumped” past most of us. Way to be ahead of the curve!!
    Always thinking of ya’ll and sending our prayers your way!
    Love The DeShaws

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