An ache deep within…

 

Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” – Isaiah 43:1-3 NLT

I would LOVE to be spared from all difficulties in this life. But since that’s not very likely, it’s become critical for me to lean into the precious truths of Gods Holy word in these challenging seasons.  In John 16:33, Jesus warns us to expect “times of trouble” while we’re here, and at the same time, He comforts us saying, ” I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world “.  Because Jesus lives in me, through His Spirit, I can prevail over every difficulty and challenge that comes my way, as long as I lean into His wisdom and strength.

I’ve been battling with my understanding of scripture…

  • ”honoring my parents” … Ex 20:12, Matt 19:19, Eph 6:2 as well as several other passages…
  • “care for family” … 1 Tim 5:8, Gal 6:10
  • “family not coming before my God” … Mic 7:6, Matt 10: 34-37, Luke 14:26

I want to honor my parents; care for my family.  As I have wrestled with my own beliefs and perceived expectations from others, the Lord has challenged me to question whether ‘I believe’ He is able to care for my parents, our parents, better than we ourselves can?  Or do I really believe we can provide better care for them than God can?

Obedience to God will deprive us of things we value, especially relationships.  Am I willing to stand in steadfast submission even when it appears I should be doing something else in the eyes of others?  Even when it’s something  I feel compelled to do?  This battle within me is real.  In Matt 4:19 Jesus said, “follow Me and I will make you fishers of men”.  He didn’t give me all the details as to how that would affect my life.  He demands obedience and trust.

I didn’t create my parents…God did.  I am not their Daddy…our Heavenly Father is.  I didn’t sacrificially give my life for my parent’s…Jesus did.  I can’t dwell within them and whisper sweet words of encouragement to their hearts…the Holy Spirit can.  God’s got this.  He did long before He led my family to Haiti.  He is enough.

May BonDye be made known through our obedience.

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My man lives with purpose…

 

 “Lè yon papa se moun serye,

li fè sa ki dwat. Sa bon nèt pou pitit li yo.”  Pwovèb 20:7

“The godly walk with integrity;

 blessed are their children who follow them.”  Proverbs 20:7

Recently in a large group setting, with tears in her eyes, Quinn thanked her dad for being a ‘man of wisdom’.  For spending time in the Word with her when she has questions or doesn’t understand what it says.  For inspiring her to grow and for genuinely loving to simply ‘hang out’ and watch a good action flick.  I know her brother echo’s that!

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Much to my chagrin, both my kids, like their dad, LOVE the History Channel…really history in general, and can binge watch it like no one’s business!  They share a love for the incredible beauty of the great outdoors and the adventures experienced together, chopping things down in the woods, moments sitting around a camp fire (I think it’s more about playing in the fire for each one of them) and really… good… FOOD.

My husband shares my heartbeat for seeing our children to not simply be happy, but to become Holy.  Chasing after their heavenly Father.  Their ‘Papa’.  He too is in pursuit of holiness …more than comfort, more than pleasure, more than happiness.  

Those who know him or anyone who has spent any time with Dave, know he is the gentle voice in the midst of this chaotic life we live.  He is steadfast…solid.  Willing to continue to allow himself to not only be challenged in his growth, but to pursue uncomfortable growth.  To continue to step out of his comfort zone even when it begins to hurt.  My man lives with purpose.  He is a man of prayer.

He has chosen to lead us where God calls, knowing there will continue to be difficult days, but trusting that our Father will carry us through, using our little family for His Glory.  

“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—
    this is God, whose dwelling is holy.”  Psalm 68:5

When I read this verse, I am reminded of Dave.  His heartbeat for our neighbors…for the youth in our neighborhood.  His desire to be a reflection of his Father.

 

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My prayer for my kids is that my son would love his Lord and (one day) his wife and children as his dad does and that my daughter would be blessed to marry a man of God, as her father is.  My prayer for the youth we are surrounded by here is the same.  

We need men of prayer who’s lives are centered around and driven by “BonDye” who live with open hands….

 

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Lavi se bèl bagay… life is a beautiful thing

“It’s true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  (Margaret Hungerford).

Not all people have the same ideas about what is seen as beautiful.

Today is Mother’s Day in Haiti.  Even on this Sunday, before we left for church, our neighbors had already been hard at work caring for their families.  Beautiful.

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 We had the privilege to spend this last week with a beautiful group of young ladies in our community, many of whom are young single mom’s, some who are the caregivers and/or providers for their parents.  Just as I do, they have dreams for their children.  Children already born and those they hope to have.  They are the backbone of their homes, their communities and they are doing their best to find a way to provide.  Their days are long…they are BEAUTIFUL.

We spent a little bit of time teaching and whole lot of time learning!  We’ve come to a place in our relationship where these girls feel safe…free… to share their hearts desires and dreams.  Beautiful.

They are praying for opportunity.  They are praying for men of God to lead their families and love the children they already have.  They are praying that the Lord blesses them with a husband who loves God above all things and who loves the children they already have as if those children are their own.  They hope for a husband who will cook, carry water and wash clothes alongside of them.  A man who respects their parents and makes them laugh.  They long for God’s very best.  BEAUTIFUL!!

Open Our Eyes, Lord
Open our eyes lord
We want to see Jesus
To reach out and touch him
And say that we love him
Open our ears Lord
And help us to listen
Open our eyes lord
We want to see Jesus

Ouvè Je nou, Senyè
Nou vle wè Jezi Kri
Pou nou ka touche Li
E di L nou renmen Li
Ouvè zorèy nou
Ede nou koute ou
Ouvè je nou Senyè
Nou vle wè Jezi Kri

I want to be more like Jesus.  I want to see Jesus alive in my life.

These girls want to be more like Jesus.  They want to see Him alive in their lives.

This life our God has given us is a beautiful thing.

Kenbe fèm, pa lage!  Tout glwa pou BonDye!

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Chosen by God to be a Mother…

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Our first gift on this day is that “Mother’s Day” is celebrated on a Sunday!  A day we choose to try to rest in the Lord, to focus on Him, to be renewed and refreshed by His Spirit.  I’m grateful to be empowered by the One, my God, who chose me to be the mother of two beautiful kids with 18 years between their births but a deep love for one another.

Being Mom is a complex calling…one of life’s highest honors yet in some moments it carries some of the heaviest responsibilities we face.  I fail frequently.  I start over daily.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
  his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.”  Lam 3:22-23

I don’t know about you, but I long for my kids to fully experience all that God has for them.  To not shy away from the challenges, learning that it is in those moments incredible, personal growth happens.  Fully trusting the Lord desires the very best, His very best, for each of them.  I want them to embrace the fullness of life the Lord has designed for them each step of the way.

I desire for my kids to BELIEVE…

in who they can become…

in what they can do…

 in what they can overcome…

BECAUSE they are empowered by our Father.

“but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:31

It may seem like an odd thing to say, but I don’t want my children to simply be happy, I want them to become Holy.

To experience the rawness of life, to struggle, to fight for what’s of value, to persevere, to experience the fruit of hard work and an intentional prayer life, to learn to wait and sometimes even accept a ‘no’ as an answer to something they think they can’t live without.

I want them to experience victory, not because of anything I or their Dad has done, or anything they’ve accomplished within their own power.  I want them to experience the victory of living a sold out, risk-taking, intentional, loving life simply to be used by Him for Kingdom purposes.  I don’t want them to fear living counter-culturally because of what they might lose, but instead for what they will gain.

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which perishes, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  1 Peter 1:6-7

My kids call me Mom.  They stole my heart.  God knew what I needed.

 

 

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Will I ever learn…

…the Lord is ALIVE in me and FAITHFUL even when I’m not in tune to His Spirit.  His patience with me when I am completely wrapped up in myself can bring me to my knees…once I remember that’s where I NEED to be.  I want to be like Him.  I long to be a radiant reflection of my Savior.  I am a slow work in progress, but He desires to prevail within me.

This season of life since Hurricane Matthew wreaked havoc on Haiti has been tough.  The picture below is what our garden now looks like because it hasn’t been tended too.  It looks like I had begun to feel.  Yet, because the Lord lives in me I am more like that lone kale plant than the rest of our garden…while struggling, I am alive.

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As I recently shared with some prayer warriors, in the midst of such good stuff I am finding myself tired, overwhelmed and frustrated.  I feel like the fire in my relationship with the Lord that has burned so brightly seems to be barely flickering.

I know I need balance. Got way too much striving, not enough trusting, too much work, not enough rest, too much expenditure, not enough filling… happening in my life.  I allowed it!  .

After reading Psalm 77 a few days ago I reached out.  As I meditated on what He has done, what His WORD says, I chose to intentionally seek the Lord to move me forward…mind, body and soul.  I reached out to people who pray…to a few I asked to hold me accountable.  I am now opening myself up to the masses knowing that the Lord has surrounded us with prayer warriors we are free to be vulnerable with.  Prayer works.  It’s powerful!

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While there is a lot to do, the need around is tremendous and has escalated, I can’t allow it to stand in the way of taking care of myself and my family.  Most importantly my time with the ONE who rejuvenates my soul.  I’m in pursuit of tweaking a few things I’ve let go awry….

  • STARTing my day in prayer, before my feet hit the cool tile and get into God’s Word so I can stay focused in my mind
  • Carving out time to eat sensibly for my body knowing my issues and exercise because it good for my mind and body, allowing me to serve well
  • Appreciating what God has made, what He has done and what He is doing, taking time to reflect and worship, in order to keep my soul fresh

God is the One who ALWAYS changes and shifts my focus, through prayer, praise and the determination needed to persevere.  I want to “live my life in Him,  rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as I’ve been taught, overflowing with thankfulness” because I belong to and am empowered by my Redeemer.   Praying God will infuse that passion back into my life!  He is able!   There is great beauty in my brokenness, especially as I bear witness to the moment He pulls me up, out of the slimy pit.  He’s been patiently waiting for me to grab His outstretched hand.

He had surrounded me with people here, near and far who are willing to get on their knees with and for us…daily.  He is at work in our midst…it’s pretty spectacular!

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Using the little things to make me stronger…

I sit here this morning considering what the circumstances of life may be calling me to do today that I don’t feel capable of doing on my own.

Dave is gone for the next 10 days.  This isn’t a problem for me, I know how to be alone.  However, in light of this past month, the reality is, I may be faced with decisions I wish I could process with him or some things completely out of my comfort zone.  I was heading into this time already worn and fervently praying about ‘one’ of those things.

Since the hurricane…we’ve had unwelcomed visitors, the creepy crawly kind entering our house frequently…not our team house…primarily our house.  However, for the first time since living here ‘a rat’ came to join us.  This is NOT ok.  They are not small here.  We do a good job staying clean, keeping all food in plastic tubs…we take all the necessary precautions.  But…we do buy local fresh eggs which stay on a shelf since they don’t need to be refrigerated.  He…she…it… found those, feasted and decided to stay.  We set a trap.  IT happily helped itself to the delicious peanut butter and went on its way.  Not ok.  Last night I saw it again.  I prayed.  Each time I woke in the night I prayed.  It’s silly, I know.   I begged the Lord that we would catch it before Dave left this morning.

God answered this prayer with a ‘yes’!!  I am more grateful than you’ll ever know.  I could show you a picture, but won’t.  I couldn’t bear to look at it.

It’s the little things that break our spirit sometimes when we are in the midst of challenging days.  God knew I needed Him to show Himself in this moment.  He uses these times, even ones that are no big deal to another to strengthen our faith, to remind us of His presence.

Because of moments like these instead of saying ‘this is too hard’ or ‘this is not my gifting, not my calling, not why I came here’, when things don’t go as I thought or seem too much, I can choose to invite God to use the process to transform me…however long it takes.

He knows our breaking point.  On occassion He does answer ‘yes’ to even what seems to be the silliest of prayers, but aren’t to us.

He promises to give the weary strength, power to the one who lacks it, wisdom to those who are clueless.  I trust Him to give me what I need.

I want to accept the invitation to become a different kind of person instead of one who runs from what’s difficult, uncomfortable.  I long to become more like Him.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:10-11

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Motherhood

The moment a child is born…a mother is born.  It’s a thankless job at times…if I’m truthful, more often than not.

The worry, the work, the direction, the protection, that gave us security and a sense of belonging.  The freedom to explore, to recognize our strengths and weaknesses.  We fought for our independence and began to discover how God wired us.  We were lucky enough to be allowed to suffer the consequences of our actions…maybe because our mother’s knew the benefits we would reap…learning, suffering while under their wings.  Throughout the years they faced numerous challenges that they didn’t have the answers for.  They were strong, dedicated, and diverse.  They nurtured, taught, cared and loved passionately.  They slept little and forgave often.  They gave unmerited grace.

Mother’s need endurance, patience and a great sense of humor…they need the Lord.

We just had the opportunity to spend a brief amount of time with each of our mothers.  Upon our return to Haiti, I was reminded of how many children here…how many mothers… are missing out on this blessing.  It goes both ways.  My heart aches that they will not have the memories that we have to look back on.  They will not be able to say ‘thank you’.

We are grateful for our moms.  Without them, we wouldn’t be here.  We would not be serving in Haiti.  Without the years of prayers we might not even be together.  I may never have had the privilege to meet…to mother, our children.  To build into them as we were built into.

We are thankful to have been raised by women who love the Lord and prayed fervently that we would follow in those footsteps.

My prayer is that I can model motherhood well to the young people we are doing life with here in Haiti.  My Hope is that they will see Christ in my actions as a mother.  My Hope is that their families will be different.

We have this Hope because our mothers introduced us to the one who is Hope!

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Sa kap pase an Ayiti jodi a?

2016-02-05 02.39.49Sa kap pase an Ayiti jodi-a?  (What’s happening in Haiti today??)  The president of Haiti is officially stepping down.  With no president in sight, a last minute agreement has been made to install a transitional government.

This is a challenging time as the people of Haiti decide how to respond.

Haitians have a deep desire to be heard, to see change, but some of the people don’t always choose the best path in expressing themselves.  We are praying that this time things would be different.

The Prime Minister and Senate have 72 hours to elect an interim president who will work to hold elections on April 24 then leave office allowing the democratically elected president to take power on May 14.

The days and weeks ahead are important for the future of this country. Please keep Haiti in your prayers. We are praying for peace on the streets, growth and a fair election.

We are praying for change.  Tomorrow is a new day.

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Our God turns darkness into light…

There is a lot happening within Haiti in regards to the transition of powers within this government.  Many of our Haitian friends are frustrated and feeling hopeless.  Join us in prayer for the days ahead.  The earnest prayers of a righteous people have great power and where two or more gather in the name of our Lord…He WILL be in our midst.

May the people of Haiti walk after You, God,  fear You, keep Your commandments and obey Your voice.  May they serve You and hold fast to You.  Deuteronomy 13:4

May the people of Haiti be strong and courageous and not fear or be in dread, for it is You, Lord, our God, who goes with them.  You will never leave them or forsake them.  Deuteronomy 31:6

Give this country a deep desire to listen to You, Lord, and pray often, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” Joshua 5:14b

Let the people of Haiti, especially the youth, learn early in life that to obey You, God, is the best way to the life their hearts desire. 1 Samuel 15:22

May the people of Haiti find comfort in Your ability, God, to reach them, to hold them, and to rescue them.  2 Samuel 22:17-18

May those in Haiti who profess knowing you, please You Lord, by desiring, asking for, and using a discerning heart full of wisdom.  1 Kings.  3:9-12

May the people of Haiti, as well as those seeking positions in government, those currently holding positions within the government, walk before You, God, as King David walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that You have commanded them and keeping Your statutes and rules.  1 Kings 9:4

Let the people of Haiti find confidence in You, God, even when hard times come and they don’t know what to do, by keeping their eyes fixed on You.  2 Chronicles 20:12

Create in the people of Haiti a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within them.  Psalm 51:10

Lord, be with the people of Haiti in trouble; rescue them and honor them.  Psalm 91:5

Give the people of Haiti a great desire to accept Your word, God, to store up Your commands within themselves so their ears will turn to Your wisdom.  Proverbs 2:1-2.

May the people of Haiti keep themselves under control and not give full vent to people and situations that anger them.  Proverbs 29:11

Let the people of Haiti walk in the security of their worth given to them by You.  Give the people of Haiti a strong work ethic and health to accomplish all the tasks before them.  Give them strong hearts that desire to extend a hand to those in need.  Protect them for the right spouse, a man or women of respect and godly honor.  Let them be men and woman of joy and laughter whose Christ-centered character is what makes them most beautiful.  Proverbs 31

May the people of Haiti listen to the way of wisdom and be led in the paths of uprightness.  Proverbs 4:11

May the youth in Haiti honor their fathers and mothers.  Ephesians 6:2

May the people of Haiti think about whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is commendable; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, may they think about these things.  Philippians 4:8

May the people of Haiti have love that comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  1 Timothy 1:5

Like Timothy, may the people of Haiti who profess faith in You be an example to other believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.  1 Timothy 4:12

And every time You, Jesus, whisper the words “Follow me”, we pray the people of Haiti would do so.  Matthew 4:19

 

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He gave first….

We give because…

  • God gave richly to us
  • we want to please Him
  • we want our faith in Him to be stretched
  • we desire to show His compassion
  • He will be pleased
  • He will be thanked

 …we want Him to be glorified

…we want to make Him known

Sometimes we are the recipients of a blessing we are then allowed to give away!

We recently experienced that when International Bible Givers purchased 300 Kreyol Bibles (Bib la) for us to give to the children in our GlobalFingerprints child sponsorship program.   At the beginning of December while handing out backpacks we were able to personally give each child a Kreyol Bible as well.  The response was overwhelming at moments and I treasured the ability to wish them a Merry Christmas (Jwaye Nwèl) while handing them His story in their heart language encouraging them to read it with their families.

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We take our Bibles for granted.

The next day, Sunday, we attended church at Source de la Grace where the program operates out of and where a number of the children attend.  Shortly after we arrived, two boys found me and hugged me with bright eyes and big grins, saying “Ou ban’n Bib sa yo yo ye!  Eske ou sonje nou’’?  (You gave us these Bibles yesterday.  Do you remember us?)

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I was suddenly filled with a sweet reminder of my need to appreciate His precious Word.  May I approach each day with eyes that sparkle and a cheesy grin on my face, as I open precious Words of life ‘’given to me’’ from our mighty God!!

I sat with the youngest boy and another friend that morning watching as they read the love letter written for them.  God is a joyful giver!!

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