Tuesday, August 30, 2016

On Fruit & Roots // Motherhood Sacrifices

Everyone looks to the branches.
Isn't beauty what our eyes are first drawn to see?
The rich gain from their marveling,
The wise pause to behold,
The reaching, expansive, demonstrative boughs
Leaves and fruit and blooms,
Such magnificent beauty.
But not in fragility-
We build this faithful sturdiness
Into homes and schools and churches.
Steadfast, upholding,
passing generations.
Such seemingly infinite strength in a tree.

But not you,
You tend to go about unseen.
You daring diver,
Unnoticed nourisher.
The supply line through which the Author pours life.
There'd be no tree without you.
There'd be no fruit or beauty.
No sturdy building
To lean on in years to come.

Thank you for sacrificing
The applause,
The productivity.
For giving up your chance to blow free
Have the wind whistle between your leaves.
Thank you for holding this whole thing together.
Even when
Sleepless nights turn into sleepless months and years
And it feels like your every day service
gets taken for granted.
When your longing for life in the sun
Leaves you almost numb,
You kept at it.
You held on.
You held up.

Every gift has a cost
And you're paying it.
Every battle is won by another loss,
And you've taken it.
There's glory in your sacrifice,
In your humble suffering,
So very much like your King.

Thank you.
and Press On, dear one!

Weary mamas,
By grace, may you take up your crosses
As you love your trees and branches,
Can you count as privilege all your losses?
And take up courage too?
For the One who hung on a tree
Is faithful to you
To be all that you need
As you lay your life down deep
Following Him,
Given for them.

May their lives bear much fruit,
As surely as yours does.
May they rise up
And call you blessed
As they follow the One
Who was raised up for us,
Like a snake on a pole
Who was hung on a tree
To make us whole
And holy,
Forgiven by blood,
He speaks over us now,
rushing waters of love:

"Your labor in the darkness,
Pressed down with every weight,
Your work,
Your life,
Your love,
Are not in vain."

Your trusting obedience makes
A pleasing sacrifice and
For all your heart
poured out in love,
The Father says this to you:
"Well Done."

Blessing, Blessing ~ peace and wisdom, joy and strength ~ be yours in Christ, 
precious and beloved mama friends.  

For my dearly loved, nearly sister J9.  

Thursday, August 4, 2016

summer camp, graduation & a few more pics

just cute kids... just playing on the street

Sorry you were only on your way to a smile, Isaiah, but you were sure very happy about that spicy nan and getting to hang with cool Eli!

oh these precious, treasured, loved, beautiful friends...
(and they're cooking for me in my kitchen!  Love that too!!)

Sweet little guys learning the tricks of base ball!

This little guy's name sounds like Asher and I definetely have a sweet spot in my heart for him!

She got up and rolling all in one afternoon b/c of help from this stellar big brother.  He told me "It's ok mom, I'll stay with her.  I won't let Vivi fall."   They both did fantastic! Love these two...

(Perfect hand-me-down blades from the biggies :) )


We have been so blessed by these two guys that came to help out this summer... truly an exceptional gift and blessing to our family!  And so super fun to have an extra connection now to both of their "homelands"...  all the people behind each of them that we love so dearly as well!
Ryan and Eli made a great obstacle course... the winning team got to eat breakfast first!

Last night (at home here) at the table we talked about our favorite memories from this summer so far and every kid said it was camp- getting to sleep in the same dorm/bunks with their friends, getting to play games and hike... and who doesn't love a huge heap of water balloons + water guns!!?!??

so many fun games...

This is one of my dearest local friends.  Her name sounds like it means "light house" but I haven't remembered to ask her if that's quite right.  I love her and all three of her kids and the niece and nephews that hang with her crew all the time... such precious ones!

new girls who were just visiting our complex....  so happy Marian wanted to invite them up for an afternoon of play at our house.  What delightful young ladies!

Their last day at "preschool" (which we've counted as much of John's first grade year since the grade-age schedule is a bit different here.) 

His darling graduation certificate...  We're so proud of you, John Timothy, for getting the deep end of local culture and language as you've played and learned at school here for the past two years!  We love you son!  Now onto 2nd grade in America!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

.... on death and glory

Jamison and Kathryne Pal were killed in a car accident this past Sunday when the minivan they were in was crushed by a semi truck.  They were killed along with their three young children, Ezra, Violet and Calvin and their friend, Terry Sullivan, who was driving the minivan they were in.  They were planning to go this fall as missionaries for Christ's sake to the people of Japan.  

Our friend shared this news with us and included words from an email that Jamison sent to him just a few weeks ago:  

... I hope it encourages you whenever you read this--that God is answering prayer and is sending more laborers to the field...

A couple lines from Shai Linne comes to mind:

"Let me make this plain kids- God is the greatest
He never changes- His ways are blameless
For His own glory and at different stages
He raises up servants to make His name famous...
Behold the grace of God- stand to the side
The Spirit exalting the Lamb who has died
It can't be denied- this man we describe
Was simply a tool in the hand of his God"
Hope to see you in Japan soon!

We are encouraged- whenever we read this or think of you Pal Family- that the Lord is doing and will continue to do great work in the harvest field of Japan and among all the people groups who do not yet know Him and in His bride, the church, as we reflect on the glory and joy that you are already enjoying with our Savior.    Eternity with Christ is worth giving everything we can, all that we have to give.  

May your story raise up a great army of lovers of Christ who will go, as you wanted to, to pour out your lives for the sake of truth and salvation and blessing for others.   Just as you lived, may the Gospel be the anchor we hold to, we fuel our lives by, and we aim our souls to celebrate for all eternity.  

~~~  Friends, I hope you can read this prayer that was prayed at their funeral.   May the Lord bring it all to be for His glory.  

Our prayers are with the larger family of these precious ones who have gone before us...  May Christ be your abundant, sustaining peace and even, miraculously, may He be joy for you as you look forward to the day to come and continue to further Jamison and Kathryn's legacy.