Tag Archives: america

Overcomers gonna Overcome

I’ve kept my mouth shut this whole presidential campaign (atleast on social media). Andy has listened to all my conspiracy theories, so you should thank him for sparing all y’all from that.  🙂

But there is one thing I read the other day, something that I haven’t seen in any headlines, something that jumped right off the page and I’ve been thinking about it ever since, something I have to share.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

I immediately thought about this whole election and whatever the outcome will be.
But it didn’t stop there! The very next phrase—

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
{Romans 12:21-13:1}

In other words, “All authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.” (NLT)
Wait, what?!?!
This whole election seems like such a mess. {and I’m not just talking about the candidates!}
We rant and jab and complain. Because, quite frankly, it’s hard to imagine anything good could possibly come from this!

We worry about how our next president will change our country.
How the outcome could affect our freedom, our comfort, our children, our grandchildren.
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We read things like this {which is really insightful about the importance of our vote}, but also unnerving that much power falls into the hands of another person– into the hands of one of those people!

Or does it.

Could it be that God is orchestrating something bigger and even more beautiful than we could ever imagine— something we may never perceive in this world as we know it. (Hebrews 12:28)
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If that’s the case…
Let us not forget that this world is not our home and it will get ugly. But take heart because our Savior has OVERCOME. (John 16:33)

Let us not act like orphans, worrying about what will be. Instead, may we cling to the fact that, no matter what, we have an Almighty Father in heaven, who will never leave us. (John 14:18)

Not only that, but we can cast all those cares at the feet of the Most High. Because He cares for us! (1 Peter 5:7)

Church, eyes are on us.
Whether we realize it or not, we are that city on a hill that cannot be hidden.
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We can either keep on ranting against policies and people we don’t agree with.
OR, we can draw from the wells of the deep deep love of Jesus and be bearers of the living water to a world that is dying of thirst.

We can either continue putting off a shocked-and-disgusted-by-this-generation vibe.
OR, we can be heralders of light to a world stumbling in the dark.

We can either complain about the outcome of this election.
OR we can trust that the Lord is sovereign, even in this.

We are not victims. We choose our response.
O Lord, help us.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Voters gonna vote. Haters gonna hate. Overcomers gonna overcome.DSC_0709

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Testing testing, 123

2016-01-22-11-39-51…Is this blog still on? 🙂
Man, guys. Sorry it’s been awhile!!
One minute we’re “kneelin’ in the New Year” and the next we’re “leavin’ on a jet plane.” What a whirlwind!! But that could have also been the Vicodin. 😉

Never meant for this much time to pass, but life took some twists & turns and for awhile there, we were just hanging on, not quite sure what to say about it all. But this blog is so special to us– our virtual scrapbook and journal, of sorts. I just don’t want to miss any season, even if we’re still not sure what to say.

We had planned on taking a 6 month furlough in July, but shortly after the New Year, it became apparent a surgery I have put off for many years was necessary sooner than later. In His perfect time, the Lord led the way for us to fly back in January and  parted the waters for me to have surgery 2 weeks later. I wasn’t kidding when I said whirlwind!!

At some point, I counted and realized we’d been living out of suitcases for 7 weeks before we unpacked our bags for a few months. In our 6 months in the States, we lived in 3 different friends’ houses, visited several churches, shook hundreds of hands, traveled thousands of miles… you get it.

We left Brazil not knowing–where would we stay? what would we drive? how would our boys do starting public school back up in February? would our boys have the winter gear they need? how would we weather the cold??

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This pic was taken at the beginning of our journey, leaving our home in Jacutinga. I know this happens when there’s sun and rain, but when embarking on a journey into the unknown, it seemed like an even greater phenomenon– “He goes before us.”  He surely did, providing our every need and so much more!

The boys started school where they had attended before we moved to Brazil. We knew there would be hard things about going back mid-year– getting up in the dark, not getting home ’til 4pm, feeling like there went their day, jumping right back in 2 weeks before standardized testing, having no idea what is a “dab” and all the lingo they never knew, let alone having to remember to flush toilet paper rather than put it in the trash (like we have to in Brazil). But they handled it all like the troopers they are!

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And me. Well, somehow when people told me 6-8 weeks recovery, I heard 2 weeks. SO, when a surgery turned into a blood clot which turned into getting real sick from the anticoagulants… well, I started to wonder if I’d never feel normal again! Somewhere in there I listened to this sermon and realized that time was about so much more than recovering physically, but a deeper healing that needed to take place. That’s a whole ‘nother blog. But, for now. I can just say I am grateful to the core for the lessons learned in the valley of recovery. And for all those who stood by my side when I could do nothing in return–literally, couldn’t even put on my socks! Bless all your dear hearts.

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What amazing friends and family we have! Just looking at all those dear faces again makes me feel all filled up. {Except I regret not remembering to capture ALL Y’ALL this time!}

This furlough was something else. You know, I had plans of delivering meals when a momma was down or taking friends’ kids for the day. I had dreams of girls’ nights out and play dates, and jumping right into all I’ve been missing out on living overseas. But the thing is….. I was the momma down, who was getting delivered meals. I was the friend, whose kids were getting picked up. Nor did I make it to many girls’ nights out and had to cancel play dates to go to the ER. And yet, these dear people were the ones to jump right in and love on us, serve and include us, even though our time was short and we were headed back to Brazil. We arrived on empty and left with full tanks. Thanks to our peeps.

Oh, and all those unknowns back in January? Look where we ended up for most of our time.
The Lord is so faithful.
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THIS is why I blog. Because I forget! I can look ahead and things seem so unclear and I wonder how it will all work out, if it will all work out. But then I look back and am blown away by His provision and His presence. His faithfulness fuels our faith.

Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light,
trust in the name of the LORD and rely on His God.
Isaiah 50:10

Memory Lane

We’ve only been back 2 weeks, but we are back in the saddle again!!
Andy started teaching classes. I started homeschooling our boys–6th, 5th, and 2nd grade. Students have started stopping by. The boys are back to catching scorpions, fishing at the creek and rattling off in Portuguese with their friends. It all seems so right and familiar and scary and exciting and overwhelming… and we are thankful for fresh wind in our sails.
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Before we get lost in the shuffle of a new semester… a trip down memory lane. We have so many beautiful memories of our time back in the US {some already shared}. No real words to describe those days. Just overflowing grateful, full hearts for every one of these moments.

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IMG_2215 2015-07-18 15.54.56  2015-07-20 10.18.51 2015-07-19 15.27.29Two months flew as fast as we knew they would. We said those things that seem to me much more like “hardbyes” than “goodbyes.” Packed our bags. Boarded our plane. With as many mixed emotions as you can see on these faces.
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Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes.
Because for those who love with heart and soul, there is no such thing as separation.
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Our hearts are full and our spirits renewed. We are forever grateful our lives are filled with those who love with heart and soul. It’s still so hard to go. Rather than wallowing in the hard, we want to view our time in the States with family and friends as a gift. And the chance to be back in Brazil training tribal church planters as grace. If we spent too long on memory lane, we’d miss all the opportunities that lie right before us. Really. Wherever we are, we just want to be faithful to love deeply and live fully–to learn and grow and laugh and trust and look for things to love along the way. How we appreciate all of you journeying right along with us!
Paint, Feathers, Xabono, Shabano, Chief

Land that I Love

I don’t know that I have ever bought a patriotic plate in my life. Now I can’t get enough! It all started when that US Official in the Immigration line at the Miami airport said to me “Welcome home.” I was overwhelmed with relief and gratitude and pride…the good kind.

We proceeded down the hall to use our first American bathroom in a loooooong time and I could hardly contain the excitement when I was able to flush my toilet paper! And how soft y’all’s toilet paper is! And, the sink faucet has hot water! And ENGLISH!! And.. and.. and!!! Our time here is too quickly evaporating. But, we are forever grateful for these 2 months “home.” We’ve been able to see many of our family and friends, reconnect with some of our supporting churches, visit our trustworthy doctors, drink from the tap… and we are cherishing every minute of it!
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God bless America, land that we love!
When we feel lonely, there are so many like-minded individuals who speak English. When we are sick, there are dependable doctors to call.. who change their gloves. When we put on our shoes, there is no need to check for scorpions first. When we struggle with parental issues, there are various places to turn for help. When we’re not even sure what to make for lunch, there is a free lunch in the park. When we want to worship in English, there are plenty services to choose from. When we travel anywhere, there is no fear–people follow traffic laws!

All this has seemed like a gigantic sigh of relief! But it has also made me see a different kind of danger living here. It’s not that we feel unsafe here. Perhaps we feel too safe here. Could it be that in all this sweet land of liberty, we don’t need God as much? I don’t know. But to be honest, I find myself praying far less in America. In Brazil, it seems we call on Him constantly because we need Him! Constantly. But here, I’m tempted to rely on superficial substitutions for all that God is. 

O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for
God is our refuge.
Psalm 62:8

Not WalMart. Not loved ones. Not medical care. Not quality education. Not traffic laws. Not 911.
GOD is our refuge— our constant Companion, our Healer, our Protector, our Helper, our Provider, our Pastor, our Sustainer.

I dread saying goodbye once again to all that we love in this country. I really do. Maybe this is me pining for some good in the hard… BUT in a crazy way, I kinda can’t wait to get back to those “Oh God. If you don’t show up, we’re screwed!” prayers. Because He always does. SO maybe it’s not the worst thing to live so far away from this land that I love. Because it is where we have felt the nearness of our God the most–perhaps because it is where we have needed Him the most.

[Disclaimer: My fear in sharing all this is that it could offend someone, which is not my intention at all. This is simply something I’ve been wrestling with–how to cling to the Lord. Not just in hard times, but also the best of times. I’m not saying you need to move overseas to rely on the Lord. I think it’s most definitely possible to live in desperate daily need for God here. Perhaps we just have to be more intentional to do so. And I’ve just haven’t. That’s all. :)]