Perhaps I should title this "Thoughts on Ending 2011" but I'm choosing to look forward, since it's occupied a lot of my prayer time lately...
Well, ok - I'll give a quick recap of a few of the highlights...
Mark and I went to FL for a brief run away from the cold of winter in January - it was still cool on the Gulf, but it was fun to get away for a unplanned vacation. We loved the blue waters, white sand dunes, and the drive together.
We made several trips to Pittsburgh, PA to visit our daughter Melissa, her husband Ryan, and our last visit welcomed a little brother to the 3 grandgirls we have there! They've recently felt led to change the direction of their life, from youth ministry here to working with youth in El Salvador. (more on this later)
We had the joy, and the sadness of our daughter Jessica's first pregnancy this spring. Little baby Rodenbaugh went to heaven very early in life, and it is still heartbreaking to all of us. God, in His kindness, answered my prayer for Jessica to be pregnant again before the first child's due date, and she is now due to have a baby boy in May. We are SO excited!!
Our son Jason was protected from death in the tornado in Joplin, as God held him at a friend's home when he should have been driving right into the tornadoes path. He also provided a good job for Jason, and got him plugged in to a good community of believers in a brand new city for him down in Louisiana! It's such an answer to prayer to see him mature in his faith, as a man of God, and to live on his own. YAY for responsible living!
We took a few drives around our area to discover it and learn more about it. We still LOVE living in KY, and enjoy the diversity of the rivers, lakes, farmland, and hills.
With my volunteering at Crossroads Christian Church (Newburgh, IN) I have been able to assist Team Expansion in several ways and do some traveling: Cincinnati, OH for the North American Christian Convention, Atlanta, GA for the National Missionary Convention (now called the International Conference On Missions), and I also went on a Missionary Care trip to North Africa!
I've made lots of amazing friendships this past year, confirming more that God has us here for a reason. Mark leads our small group, I get to assist in the Women's Ministry, and we love being a part of God's community here. YAY!!
OH OK - the real reason for this post - the future!!
"I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future..."
Mark and I have been praying and planning on doing "The Daniel Fast" this next week. Most people start it on a Sunday - but because of Mark's work schedule - we'll start on Tuesday or Wednesday. This fast is not a total food fast, it is based on the way Daniel ate when he fasted, only fruits and vegetables, drinking only water, and no leavening (no bread!) in anything eaten that is ONLY whole grains. You can get the details of the fast at their web site: http://daniel-fast.com/ and if you sign up in her email updates, you can get the guidelines emailed to you for free! We have invested (around $10) for the book and will follow along the devotionals that she provides, and there's a whole section on preparation (what we're reading now) as well as a bunch of recipes.
As a part of this fast, we are setting spiritual goals that we are seeking God's intervention with. We're still praying about the finalizing of these things, but a few of them are for our future in work/ministry, and my hives. I'd really love for God to provide a spiritual breakthrough on them - it's been around 5 years now and I'm getting pretty weary of dealing with them. UGH. I know that He will reveal something to me about the cause of them and I look forward to the answer He provides to heal me.
I'm also asking for deliverance from the food addictions that I have - sweets/sugar (none are allowed on the fast - not even natural sweeteners like honey!), and fats (only plant based oils are allowed, and no fried foods). I know that we both eat out of stress, and both "struggle with our weight" too, but this is not our motivation for fasting. Rather I'm praying that He will cleanse us of our bad habits, our unhealthy attitudes on eating, and give us the motivation and will-power to lean hard on Him and break them all. I know that this is just a 21 day focus for us, but that the effects can last our lives.
Before the month ends (and more likely in the early part of the month) our daughter Melissa and her family will be moving in with us! Our little 1300 square foot house will have a total of 4 adults and 4 kids living in it! They will be here with us for sometime between 2 and 6 months, preparing to transition into a ministry in El Salvador! I'm excited to get to have the time with them before they go, to spend time with our grandkids and to be able to strengthen their relationship and see them "do church" with us for a season before they move...of course I'm praying for God's will in their life too!
I'm sure that Mark's been thinking of another winter get away - but I don't know what he has in mind this time around...he's always wanted to take a cruise...and it's been a LONG time since we've been to CA to see our friends and family there...so those are possibilities. I know that we're open to let God lead us on another mission trip - but think that it's Mark's turn, or we'll go together this time. I have NO idea where that might be...so God can surprise us there. :)
We're also continuing to pray about Mark asking for a position working overseas with the company that he works with. God has to work there to bring that to fruition, but we're aware that we might get to go somewhere that "missionaries" are not allowed, but Poultry Plant Engineers are.
We'll go wherever He wants us to, and trust Him to equip us in that journey!!
SO, those are some of my thoughts for this year. Discipline (I think) is my focus word. Whether it's writing, quilting, Bible study, or laundry and dishes, I desire to be more disciplined and intentional in my actions and reactions. I want to be a better encourager, and write notes to people I care about - handwrite if I can...email if I can't. I want to smile more, and complain less. I want to share God's love with more people who do not know Him as their Lord, Savior, Father, Friend. I want to hear them say "I believe that Jesus IS the Son of God..." and see the light of His love light up their face, for them to cry tears of the realization that He died for their sins...that He loves them THAT much...
Those are the things I hope for this year...
I invite you to (please) pray for me, for us, as we move forward in our walks with God. We know that the more we intend to do more with Jesus, the more Satan will fight back. We need prayer warriors around us to respond as God leads them to pray for us. By the time we post something, the battle may be over, but YOU can feel the prompting of the Holy Spirit and PRAY! YAY!! We appreciate those that pray for us in the same way I pray for others...if God brings you to my mind, I pray for you...whatever He leads...and if I don't know something in particular, I pray for peace, for strength, for you to feel Him at work in you, around you and through you....
Happy New Year friends...
My God Reigns...