Thursday, January 23, 2014

Daughter of the King

An answered prayer!!  She is a daughter of the one true King.  Cleansed and made whole. Washed with the water, sins removed by His blood...This is what Olivia experienced Monday, January 20th.
She made this decision with much thought and study.  She chose to give her life to Jesus and to strive to live like Him.  Confessing her faith of him and acknowledging that this would be a new life for her is just the beginning of her changed life.  She is just beginning her journey with the Lord, and I pray she grows with Him, grows deeper and deeper with Him, and more in love with Him.
So, you teach the Gospel to others and you share the love of Christ, and in that time some choose to obey and you are a witness to that obedience.  But, I must say that hearing my daughter's words, "I want to be baptized," and confessing her reasons and her understanding of the Gospel are some of the most precious words I have ever heard.  
 {Pretty sure this will be one of the most memorable baptisms he ever does.}

 You can barely see her face, but it is that smile of knowing you are free, clean, and a 
 It was dark, and the end to a long day for many, but everyone came with rejoicing hearts to witness this very special day.

{I snapped this a few Sundays ago before church while they were waiting on me to finish my snapshots of everyone else.  It is candid, and I kinda love this picture a lot. }

I don't know why, but her recent birthday of turning 9 years old hit hard this year.  I mean by American standards we are half way done.  She is half way to 18!  My mind kind of goes into space with this thought.  It is typically your human instinct to think ahead, but I can honestly say at this moment, I am actually not thinking ahead and am instead remembering sweet memories of the past living the present, hoping we are making many more to remember.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Battle For Jesus

You share the Gospel, you plant the seed,  and show love, and share love, and live love. This is what we tell ourselves, this is what we try to live.  So many of us Christians have had "normal" lives, have known of Jesus and really known Jesus for more years of our lives than not, and we all have struggles.  We all have moments where we aren't living like we should, making the choices that God would approve, and living a complete Christ-centered life.  And in those moments, maybe some of us have people who love us, nudge us in the direction we should be moving, or God intercedes and takes his hand and carries us where we need to be.  We have love.  We have God's love, true love from our family.
I was and am so fortunate that I have parents who truly love me and have always showed that love.  I had a loving family that included a father figure and a mother figure.  Some are less fortunate, and maybe only have one of those, but that is still one.  Then there are some who, by tragedy have neither of those.
Think on this....
How does one know what love is?
How does one grasp that God, the most amazing father in the world loves them more than anyone?
How does one imagine what this love is?
How does one Believe this Father is different?
At the age of ten years old you were sent from your home country to neighboring Costa Rica to work as a babysitter.  REALITY HERE!!!!  My daughter is 9 years old.  I cannot imagine doing this to my child.  You come to this country you have never been to before to care for children, when you are only a child yourself.  And you do this for the next 8 years.  You are all alone!  You are a child alone in a foreign country caring for another person's children.  For the better part of the next 8 years, you never hear from your family much and do not see them.  In this time, your family has grown without you.  You were sent away.  How does that make you feel?  You have nothing!  You are a child with no family.  
Your family moves to the country where you are living at the age of eighteen.  You have yearned for this for so many years.  You just wanted your family.  You wanted to be loved, to be accepted.  But, the reality is they moved on without you, they grew without you.  For whatever reason they chose to send you away.  In your heart you know the situation for what it really is, but it is so hard to tell yourself that they must not have really loved you.  You now find yourself with 4 children, living a life that you wish was better, wishing it could be different for your children.  You are not married and have 4 people who depend on you, but you live constantly in war with life and yourself.  
As I think about this woman, I think about how us Christians who have Jesus struggle at times in their life with their faith, and we know Jesus.  We had and have people who love us, who didn't send us away, who didn't abandon us.  And, we have times in our life when we think, how can I get through this, but we know we have Jesus on our side and we have him to lean on.  He is there to comfort us, to carry us, to carry our load.  
My heart breaks for these people who don't know love.  They cannot even comprehend it.
I can't expect them to understand that God is love, when they don't even know what LOVE is.  
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." ~ Heb 11:1  

With faith, there is love.  And this is the battle that Jesus fought.  He is a warrior for love.  And I have faith that God will show this person what love is, that they will see it. Because the Gospel is LOVE. I think circumstances make things harder or easier for people, but at the end of the day we all have to make the choice to know God's love or to not know God's love.  Please pray that this one who does not know love, will know love, will have faith in the God of love, and act on that love in obedience to the one who showed the biggest sacrifice of love.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

And the Saga Continues...No Time

It is always on my mind, although at the back, to update this blog more often then once every 3 or 4 months.  I just have not had the time.  Between homeschooling the kids and then just everything that our daily life entails here, I just haven't made it on here.
Then, the few times I had a second, I just did not even know where to begin.  And, again, that is my story today....Where do I begin?
2013 was a year full of so many blessings and trials thrown in as well.  We are so thankful that we are here and celebrated our second Christmas and New Year's here in Costa Rica.  When we moved we had no idea what our time frame for being here would be and we still do not know, you just never know what the Lord has in store, but here is 2014 and we are still here.  
So many people always ask how the kids are doing, and have they adjusted?  

{ pretty sure they are doing just fine...perfect if grandparents lived here }

We just celebrated all of their birthdays!  Carson's isn't until March, but we had a party for all 4 of them when Papa and Nana were here.  They are growing so fast, Leia is 4, Logan 7, Olivia 9, and Carson will be 6 in March.  We are midway through our school year and it is my highest of high hopes that we can be all completed before we leave to visit the states in May.  I know, I am dreaming high, but I will try.  

The kids have thrived so much since we moved into this house that we are in now.  We have now been in this house a year and are so thankful for where we are at.  The location is perfect, our neighbors are wonderful, and the kids are at home.  Before we lived here, I cannot say they were adjusted, doing well, or thriving.  But now, they are!  Praise the Lord.  Because you want happy, smiling, laughing, screaming, giggly kids!
Olivia joined her friend Jimena in swimming classes for 6 months out of the past year.  She could swim before but now she looks like a little professional with all her strokes she has learned.  She finished that up in December and will not be continuing that this year due to the location.  She has decided that she would like to give Volleyball a try, so we will see how that goes.  And she is learning how to play the guitar.  She has asked for a guitar for several years for her Christmas and Birthday, and she finally got one this year!  When Keith arrived here last week, he gave her some instructions to start with and we shall see if we can find someone to teach her.  At the moment, David and I are trying to teach ourselves so we can help her.  I think David is picking it up pretty fast, and I should probably just stick with woodwind instruments!  But, I have not given up yet.  I just can't feel my fingertips in my left hand, even now as I type this.  

Logan and Carson continue to play soccer and have improved so much over the past year.  They are now scoring goals and kicking up the dirt on the field.  They look forward to playing every Saturday morning.  Logan begs to do Karate here, but we just don't think that is a good idea to give him and Carson instructions on how to fight with each other better! : )  They are both now reading really well. Some days they shine with their brilliance and then other days David and I wonder if their brains escaped....the life of a boy!

Leia is a ball of fire, and needs to start school soon, so maybe she will be less detractive to the others while they are doing school.  She loves going in and out all day long and has pretty much stolen the hearts of all our neighbors.  At any time if she is not at home, she is at someone's house playing.  She has two little friends that are the same age as her and one just as equally spirited as her.  They have their moments and one goes running home and then they are ready to play again in 2 minutes.  She does not want to play any sports and has no interest in even watching the boys or Olivia when she was playing soccer.  She has asked ever since we moved here if she can do ballet.  She is finally old enough and will start that in February.

That is it.  There are four of them and they can choose one thing to do, and that is it.  I don't know how people keep up with all of their kids in every activity and sport.  I would be running circles getting no where.  Now I know why my mom gave us limits on what all we could do.  It is expensive and then there is no time for anything else.
David and I just had birthdays too.  He is 34 and I am in the world did that happen??
The last 7 weeks have been crammed full of fun and memories.  We have had my mom and dad and David's mom and dad here 5 out of those 7 weeks.  So, it has been crazy, crazy here, David still trying to get work done and cram in some family time.  The kids and I had lots of time at the house just hanging out and then some days exploring this beautiful country.  No school, itself, was a VACATION! We were so thankful for those days of having fun thanks to our parents.  It was some much needed fun time!!

 { Top of Volcan Irazu }

{ Playa Tamarindo }

This past year we have developed more relationships with people here and continue to strengthen the old ones and build more on the new ones.  Our days are full!  Praise the Lord!