That’s Just Vandy

Grrrrrrrind.

That is what you would hear if you rode with us in our van. And, as we have already outgrown it, the brakes are going to continue to do that, because we don’t want to put any more money into this vehicle. The last weeks have been a challenge, getting this person here and that person there with the two remaining vehicles we have. I realize this starts to sound like a first world problem; three vehicles, really? But we are thinking we do need to have a driving arrangement that could include all fifteen passengers (if Carol goes along), hence the search for a 15 passenger van.

There are many things to consider. do we get a nicer one with less mileage for more money, or a higher mileage one that costs less to just get us through the next four or five years? The former robs us of House Money, the latter seems like a big gamble that we won’t be hit with repairs every few months.

Luke test drove a few yesterday. The first was here in town, and he was able to bring it by the house so I could drive it and a couple of kids could ride along. It used to be a day care van, very inexpensive, had low miles, but was twenty years old! I told Luke it was difficult to keep some snobby feelings in check. Yes, it was cheap and might get us a year or two down the road, literally. And in nine year old Caleb’s words, a van like this was “awesome!” But could my older kids handle the embarrassment of the backing-up beeping (oh, yes) it made? Could I?

To Be Continued, at which time I describe our jaunt to Amish Country.

What To Call It

The fog is clearing, finally. I have had a headache since Wednesday, and, quite frankly, it was getting old. Things lightened up this afternoon, and as long as I don’t bury my nose in this wonderful book I am reading, I should be able to stay pain-free this evening. So, I’ll blog, instead of finding out what happened to Friedrich, Mike, and Ivy. (And I can blog about them another time! Yay books!)

At BSF on Monday, our lecturer mentioned all of the things that were happening to people as a result of what she called “satanic oppression”. While I believe there is a lot of activity in the unseen world, I kinda shrugged off her suggestion that any of these happenings in our Bible study group could be linked to that.

Rewind to last week, where I felt the Lord saying to me, “Open their eyes,” from a verse in Acts where Jesus is commissioning Paul. I often will pray for an unbeliever’s eyes to be opened, not really thinking that that job belongs to me. But there it is, in black and white. And my children need to be the first to have their eyes opened. They are my number one priority, evangelism-wise. I spoke to them about it, saying, “If you leave our home and still do not know Jesus, have I done a good job?” So I definitely wanted to step up my efforts along those lines, especially with our littles. They get Bible stories at church, that’s great, but I need to be intentional about sharing the gospel with them on a regular basis, and living out the gospel before them on an even more frequent basis.

Fast forward to a week ago. I heard that the Iowa caucus was Monday, and really felt like I should do some targeted praying for the upcoming election, starting now. As my late father-in-law used to say, we will never know what might have been if we had prayed! So I began to gather info on the caucus, and consulted some old prayer guides from past election seasons. Good stuff there, like praying that people will not make judgments by what they see, or what they hear, but by what is right and just and true. Awesome. I added a statement to each day on my prayer list, and geared up for Monday’s caucus.

Already I am cautiously optimistic, given the outcome of the caucus. I wonder if it happened singularly as a result of people praying for it, or if this is a next step in God’s agenda for the U.S, or both. The next big day is the 9th, when New Hampshire will cast their votes. I will be praying.

Back to this week, and what a week it was! Children gone wild, illness, chaotic times in our home. On Monday I had half the day working to relinquish a bitter spirit I had, and when I finally got feeling better about that, it seemed something else was waiting at my heart’s door, all ready to wreak havoc. Tuesday continued as crazily within our house’s doors as Monday. Then on Wednesday, Adon shut his thumb in the screen door, and I had to rush him to Urgent Care. It looked like the nail was completely damaged, but underneath I could not tell if the bone was affected, with all the blood and swelling. So off we went to the doc.

Wednesday night we missed church- a prayer meeting and a chance to share a missionary story about Amy Carmichael. I felt bad for missing, but I was worn out from the running around all day.

Then when Thursday and Friday passed away in a dense headache fog, my thoughts went back to what our BSF lecturer said on Monday night. Was any of this satanic oppression?

Each mishap could be easily explained with natural, earthly terms. But I suppose it is possible that I am being silenced by the chaos and illness because I have renewed my efforts to reach my children with Jesus’ love, and to reach out to my country in prayer for the upcoming election. Stranger things have happened.

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you via email.

Prevention Month- Day 31

We’ve reached the end of this awareness month, Lord, but I hope that my awareness and involvement in this scourge of our day would only grow more and more from here. Paul’s final words in 1 Corinthians come to mind- may this be true in my life, and in the lives of anyone who loves You, Lord.

Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love…If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed. Maranatha.The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Maranatha!

Prevention Month- Day 30

Jesus, this is all about You. I was reminded last night how wicked our culture in the United States has become, making idols out of sex, money, music, and fame, to the extent that Your singular beauty and glory are completely lost on the unbeliever. There will come a day when every eye will see You in Your glory, every knee will bow before You and acknowledge that You are Lord. No one will be blind anymore- all will see what opportunities they had and wasted on their own pleasures. Sadly, children suffer so cruelly because of these pleasures and drives for more, more, more. I ask You to motivate and guide me to tell others about You, Jesus, as it is really my job to know You and make You known to these.  Allow me and others You have called to make a real difference in this dark world, this dark country, forgetting ourselves and striving for Your glory.

Prevention Month- Day 28

Today is my dad’s birthday, Lord, and I think of all the fathers, known and unknown, who have children in, or are considering putting children in, the trade.  Maybe they felt they had no choice, or maybe they came up with the idea on their own. If there is a way to make things right, Lord, convict and motivate these men to do what is honorable and just regarding their children. Maybe there is a home nearby who can care for them, or maybe there is an opportunity for the family to make money some other way. Shine light on the other options to these fathers, Lord, so that they can be good and faithful to their families. May You be glorified in the rescue of slaves and the prevention of slavery in our time.

Prevention Month- Day 27

Hear the cry of millions who are in bondage today, Lord, and send those who would be Your voice telling their captives to “Let My people go!” And may the world know that it is You, and You alone, who can rescue, can save, and can restore the broken and lost.

And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

Exodus 3:7-10

Prevention Month- Day 26

We near the end of the month, Lord, and I am not sure I am any more knowledgeable or fervent in my prayers for those affected by human trafficking. I have been reading Amazing Grace, the biography of William Wilberforce, a timely book for the month. One thing that stands out to me about his life is Your timing. While he would admit to wasting many years and opportunities (like we all do) there still seems to be a point in time when it all came together and from then on You were calling the shots. Although there were plenty of sorrows and disappointments in his fight against slavery, he still could know he was in Your will. I want to be there, too, at the center of Your will, waiting for the time when I may be in a prominent place to really make a difference. Of course, I realize that, by raising these children You have given me to Your glory, I will make a huge difference in this world. Who knows? One of my children may play an important role in destroying some system of Satan. Help me to have eyes to see what might be unseen now, and maintain the hope that me, my husband, and children will be used mightily for You.

Prevention Month- Day 25

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

…you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. ~from Matthew 7 & 16

I’ve been thinking about gates today, Lord. It is almost as if the gate to death and destruction isn’t really a gate at all, in the sense of limiting the entrance or turning away any particular person. It seems like there is really only one Gate, and everywhere else you could look on the horizon could have you heading in the wrong direction. Anyway, I ask You today to renew Your Spirit in each one of us who have entered the Gate, who are on the path to Heaven, and give us a fresh desire to help others find the Gate, too. If I go along my merry way and am not concerned for those who do not know You, what a shameful use of my life I make. I think this contributes to the abolition of human trafficking in a big way- if each of Your servants were going out and reaching others, sooner or later we would hit upon some real dens of evil and be able to do away with their systems by Your power. You have promised Your church will prevail; give us the confidence to move forward in faith.

Prevention Month- Day 23

In my reading this morning, You were greatly distressed in Your spirit over the disbelief of the Pharisees, but Your disciples missed it, having their minds on earthly things like bread for their bellies. How often that is where I am, too, when it comes to spiritual perception. I have really bad eyesight, but I also have really bad spiritual eyesight. Lord, I am asking You today to come within and help my eyes to see what is really here- past the temporal to the eternal. I pray that those who are believers in pivotal places when it comes to the sex trade be given eyes to see what really matters for eternity, and do all in the strength You have given them to act on what they believe today, so that this darkness may be pushed back a little further and that Your glory may shine all the more brightly. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Prevention Month- Day 21

Lord, I think of those on the front lines of this battle today- the house parents, the tireless organization heads, the missionaries, the diplomats, the liasons, the believers with brothels or truck stops right in their neighborhoods. I ask you to strengthen them, and give them even more of a voice and an influence in their spheres. Don’t let them tire of doing good, and remind them that they will reap a harvest if they do not lose heart. (Gal. 6:9)