Sunday, November 30, 2008

New Guinea Update

Here is the latest update on the Madak tribe teaching in New Guinea. To think how we feel so inconvenienced when we have to make arrangements in our schedules to go to the dentist...imagine having to drive to another town and fly out to another area just to get your tooth fixed! Thank you so much to those of you who are praying! You can read here for more background information.

"This week's teaching went well as we ended with Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden.

We have been receiving a lot of great comments from people as we have taught our way through the Genesis account. The Madaks have many strange and inaccurate beliefs regarding the beginning of all things.

We are still working on the issue of spirits. We have taught them that God created ALL spirits and, initially, they were all good. There are NO spirits that God didn't create. Then, Lucifer rebelled and many spirits followed him in his rebellion. Thus, the demonic realm came to be. They agree with us when we teach this. However, when we ask them where the bad spirits here in the village came from, the don't answer immediately and you can tell there is still a "disconnect" in their minds. They experience demonic manifestations and activity... it is very real to them in their daily lives. Due to the reality of this, they are having a hard time believing that the things they encounter are actually demons and that they are being deceived. They are too real to be some "bad angel" from a Bible story. They readily agree that demons exist, but the little dwarf bush men they see while they are out in the jungle... there has to be another explanation for them. They are just too real to simply be a demon trying to trick them.

Please pray for us as we continue to present the truth of God's Word to the people of our village.

Please pray that they will begin to see consistent themes re-appearing throughout the lessons.

Themes such as: the result of sin is always death, Satan is a deceiver, God faithfully communicates His truth to His creation (He doesn't hide it from us), etc.

This week we will be teaching on Cain & Abel and Noah.


~Physical and mental strength for each of us

~Health in the village ('sick season' approaching)

~For the elderly folks in the village who are not able to physically attend- Emos/Anton/Maragus/Sarides

~That God's Word would be CLEAR and break through the current lies theMadaks are believing~Bittner kids (Leah, Micah and Levi) at the dorm

~Karl needs to see a dentist this week as one of his molars chipped off and the filling in that tooth came out. He will be driving to Kavieng on Tuesday, flying to Goroka on Wednesday, getting his tooth fixed on Wednesday afternoon, flying back to Kavieng on Friday, and driving back to Lelet on Saturday. He then needs to be ready to teach on Sunday afternoon.

~Pray for all his flight connections as many times people are stranded for a day or two on their way to or from Goroka.

Thanks for praying!

The Madak Team:

Karl, Maribeth, Laura, Matthew and Rachel Greeb

Chris, Peg, Leah, Micah and Levi Bittner

April Fish

Sharon Mihill

Beth DeLaat"

Friday, November 28, 2008

Embracing the Good and Bad of Life

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thessalonians 5:18

I think many times, as parents, we wonder if our children are truly learning the things that we are teaching and instructing them about. Occasionally, we are blessed with moments that affirm that they are learning and listening even when we thought perhaps they weren't. I had one of those treasured moments early this morning.

Our kids have been working through a stomach bug all week. Mostly our Gentle Strength.(middle child) Everyone seemed well and energetic yesturday and we shared a very laid back and enjoyable Thanksgiving Day together. We did the traditional 'go around the table and say things that you are thankful for'. We were prompting the kids to be as specific as they could. Not just saying, "I'm thankful for Dad;" but saying why they were thankful for Dad, etc.

After we had gone over all of the many blessings we have in our life, we took a moment to remember those who were no longer with us this year at Thanksgiving. My husband and I have both lost dear grandmothers this past year. We explained to the kids that although we miss them, that we are thankful that they both knew the Lord and that they are celebrating up in heaven with Jesus right now. We talked a very few minutes about how we need to be thankful for both the good and bad in life because we learn many things from going through difficult times.

The lesson was cut short with requests for "more green bean casserole" and wonderings about which kind of pie they might choose later on. Sadly, the pie had to wait...both our Gentle Strenth and our Beauty became very ill (stomach bug having gained new momentum.)

Shortly after midnight, I was brushing back my daughter's hair and telling her how sorry I was that her Thanksgiving had ended so sadly. Her response? Shockingly, she said, "It was still the best Thanksgiving ever. We need to be thankful for the good and the bad right? I'm thankful that you love me enough to be holding and brushing my hair back when I am sick...." Quite honestly, I had been the one sad about how Thanksgiving had ended. In those few moments I was blessed beyond words at my daughter's quick and heartfelt response and also challenged that I had allowed their sickness to cut my thankfulness short.

As I slipped back into bed, I was truly thankful that my daughter had been sick...we may have missed a treasured moment had we simply had a bunch of pie with whipped cream and ended the night with a movie as we had planned. Pie, whipped cream, and movies can come later...thank you God for the good and the bad that comes our way...thank you that if we allow you to, you can change the bad into good. It doesn't always become apparent right away. Sometimes it can take months or even years; but when we gaze in hindsight, we can often see the hand of God at work - weaving in the dark threads here and there required to make the tapestry of our lives vibrant, full, and beautiful.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

Many Blessings!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful Moments

The other morning my husband and I awoke before all of our children. (rare indeed)

He had coffee brewed and a fire blazing in a matter of minutes. As we snuggled down under a fleece blanket waiting for the warmth of the fire to fill the room; our children began descending the stairs. "Morning Sweetheart" I said. Our oldest silently slipped up into our blanket beside me. While we all stared silently at the rising flames, our Gentle Strength made his appearance. "Hey Bud"... "Morning Dad." He slid quitely onto my lap lanky legs reaching all the way to the floor. (When did he get so long?) Soft uneven footsteps were heard on the stairs. The Littlest one rounded the corner and jubilently stated, "Awake!" He joined our mass under the fleece snuggling onto my husbands lap. All was quiet as we sat snuggled as a family transfixed on the snapping warmth. The perfect moment lasted but seconds..."Eggers?" Littlest One asked touching my face..and so the day began...

Happy Thanksgiving to you & your families! May you be blessed with peace and joy in simple ordinary moments this Thanksgiving Holiday.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Titus 2 Tuesday - Build Your House

"The most important work you and I will ever do will be within the walls of our homes." Harold B. Lee

That quote instantly reminds me of the Titus woman that I am choosing to honor with today's post. Melissa has a genuine and sweet heart to mentor others - specifically those who are moms with small children. She has a great amount of experience in this area as she has 3 boys and 1 girl. (Their daughter was adopted from Haiti) They range from pre-teen to almost adult!

There were so many things that I could say about Melissa that it has taken me awhile to write this post. I finally decided that the one over-all thought that I have from her is based on Proverbs 14:1 "The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." She has encouraged me to honor my husband, bless my children, and to invest in the home that God has blessed us with.

I appreciate the way that she speaks well of her husband and genuinely respects him and his opinions.

I appreciate the way that she has cared more about creating a warm, inviting, and creative space where her children are encouraged to learn, grow and create rather than to be concerned with whether or not her living room could be photographed for a magazine layout.

I appreciate the way that she gives to others and speaks truth from her heart.

She began writing "letters" via e-mail to a few moms who had asked her questions and she got an amazing response so she continued to write more "letters"- mom to mom about real issues and topics. The list has continued to grow. She began her blog as a way to encourage even more moms who may be longing for a mentor but do not have one. As she experienced herself years before. You can read her letters and tips at:

I honor your influence upon my life today Melissa!

Click on the "Titus 2 Tuesday" link at the top of this post to read more posts about:

"What have you learned from another woman this week (or ever)?"

Monday, November 24, 2008

Marital Moments Issue 14 - Great Expectations

"Confucius says, 'Man who does not exceed his wife's expectations has not met them at all'..." Quote from my very wise husband :)

I will never forget my very first Mother's Day! I went to bed the night before sure that it was going to be a special day. After all, I had seen all of the commercials! Touching Hallmark moments, cards and gifts from children, breakfast in bed, people saying, "He went to Jared!"

It was a beautiful Sunday morning. There was no breakfast in bed; but I didn't get discouraged. I enjoyed spending the morning with my husband and young daughter and we had a great "Mother's Day" message at church that day. After our church service, we rushed over to a friend's church for her baby's dedication and then onto their house for a fun BBQ. However, half way through the BBQ, my beautiful daughter, (who had previously been a bit "stopped up" from beginning sweet potatoes) suddenly "worked things out" all over me! Thankfully, my friend had some extra clothes that fit us both so we were able to finish out the afternoon.

We arrived back home and it hit me that my husband really had not planned any kind of special "1st Mother's Day" surprise for me. The realization that the only flower I was going to receive would be the drooping carnation that they had passed out at church and the only "gift" from my daughter was an overflowing diaper; I was overwhelmed with disappointment. Although I had truly been blessed with a special day, my expectations had clouded my ability to embrace the beauty in it.
My husband could sense my disappointment and his first reaction was to somehow meet this expectation that I had in my mind. He zoomed off and returned a short time later with a watermelon (my favorite food), french fries from McDonalds (something we both liked), and a bird house from Home Depot. (He CLEARLY hadn't seen the same commercials as me! LOL!) But he had tried and given from his heart. Which is much better than getting something that we expect.

We both learned a lesson that powerful expectations can be.

When we were engaged, we had gone through pre-marital counseling as many couples do. It was a wonderful way to get our expectations out in the open so we could enter our marriage knowing what the other expected from their spouse. But you cannot always know how your expectations will come into play as you interact with each other's families or after you have children. It is something we need to be continually keeping in mind and communicating about.

We also have to be on guard from allowing outside influences to set our expectations. Every major holiday, advertisers work overtime trying to create "need" within our minds and hearts. "If your spouse really loves you they will get ________ for you" kind of messages. Ones that if we allow ourselves to believe can cause so much hurt and disappointment.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are often times when expectations run high. It can be our expectations on the food we will eat, the gifts or appreciation that we will receive, etc.

They can also happen in a different form as well. We may be expecting family get togethers to be a hassle, Uncle Bob to be obnoxious, or little Betty to get under your skin.

As we enter this season of mass expectations, I invite you to join me as I take take a few minutes to try to write out any expectations good or bad that I might be having. Let's talk openly with our spouses about ones that they may need to know about, and surrender our expectations to the Lord. Let's allow the slate to begin clean. To begin without a demanding heart; but one that is able to be truly grateful for any blessing in store. It is one of the most beautiful gifts that we can give.

Many Blessings!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

New Guinea Update

I will be posting updates each Sunday afternoon/evening about the missionary group who is ministering in New Guinea to a tribe called the "Madak People." Here is the latest...

"The Madak people, being animistic, are well aware of the spirit world around them. They have specific names for different spirits they encounter. The lesson on Lucifer was the beginning of a process that, Lord willing, will help them to understand how their ancestors were deceived by the spirits and they, ultimately, have been deceived as well. There have been comments made that show they are beginning to question some of this. Their animistic roots run to the core of their being. So, please pray that the Holy Spirit will be at work in their hearts to help them understand the Truth.

Please be praying with us this week as we teach on the fall of Adam and Eve and the results of their disobedience to God. This is a very foundational truth that is critical for them to understand. We need to communicate this as clearly and effectively as we are able to. Please pray that we will do just that. Confusion abounds in their minds concerning this topic. If we had time, we could tell you some wild stories we have heard surrounding this topic. They desperately need to understand what the Bible actually teaches about the fall of mankind. Please be praying.
PRAISE GOD with us:
Weather is still holding up
Continued office help
The Elderly people in the village are faithfully listening to the audiorecordings of the lessons that we take to them each week

Pray for physical and mental strength for each of us.
Pray that God would show HIS LOVE through us as we interact with the people.
Pray for good attendance as there are many interruptions coming up
Pray for God's Word to open the eyes of these people
Pray for wisdom as we answer questions that the people ask

THANK YOU for your prayers,

The Madak Team
Karl, Maribeth, Laura, Matthew and Rachel Greeb
Chris, Peggy, Leah, Micah and Levi Bittner
Sharon Mihill & April Fish"

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Testimony

When I was 4 years old I remember staying at home from church one Sunday with my dad and my older sister. I think we were getting over an illness and my dad stayed with us in order to allow my mom to get out. (Yes, he was a good man!) As we sat around our kitchen table talking, my sister began asking questions about Jesus. "Why did Jesus die on the cross?" "What does it mean that He rose from the dead?" She believed that she was a sinner-that she had done bad things, and she wanted to receive Christ's gift of salvation.

My dad was so excited to be having this conversation with his daughter and he asked her if she wanted to pray right then and there. She said, "Yes!" and they prayed together. I remember watching the whole thing thinking, "Wow, my dad is so happy!" When they finished, he looked at me and asked if I too, would like to receive Jesus Christ as my savior. I remember saying, "Yes!" but not knowing exactly what that meant. As we prayed (he led and I repeated) I began sliding further and further down in my chair until just my eyes could be seen above the table. I knew that whatever I was doing; my dad was taking it seriously and was extremely excited. Later that day, he told just about everyone that BOTH of his daughters had prayed to receive Christ! If you are a Christian parent, you will surely understand his enthusiasm.

Throughout the next several years, I call them the "thumping years"; pastors, speakers, and missionaries would clearly present the Gospel and give invitations to receive Jesus Christ. My heart would beat so loudly I was sure others could hear it, but because so many people already thought I was "saved," I would talk myself out of responding to the invitation. After all, ...maybe I was saved, I would reason. But I was plagued with doubts.

When I was 16, our youth group was watching the "Thief in the Night" movies. After the first movie, I remember going to the bathroom with my best friend. I asked her, "If you died tonight, do you know FOR SURE that you would go to heaven?" She simply responded, "You don't?" She went with me to talk to our youth pastor at the time and he walked me through the "plan of Salvation." (See below for more details) He asked if I would like to pray with him. I truly did want to "be saved" to have the peace and joy that others seemed to have. We prayed together.

When we were finished he looked at me and said, "How do you feel?" Not being one to mince words, I let him know that I didn't "feel" any different. I didn't think that "it" had worked...he told me he would continue to pray for me and I drove home. You see, I had all of the knowledge in my head, but I was holding it at bay from reaching my heart. We lived about 20 minutes from the church and I had a good amount of time to think on the way home.

Somewhere along the drive it hit me, really hit me that Jesus loved me. That He died for me -for my sins. I was in tears by the time I reached home. I went inside, knelt down beside my bed all alone, and prayed. I confessed that I was a sinner in need of a savior and I thanked Jesus for dying on the cross for my sins. I told Him that I accepted His death as payment for my sins and that I believed that He did not stay dead, but rose again. I asked that He would be preparing a place for me. Afterward, I was crying and felt a freedom and peace that I truly had never experienced before. I knew that it was real and that Jesus was my Savior!

I was a little hesitant to tell my dad. I didn't want him to feel badly that I had waited all of those years and had not accepted the Lord with him. But he was genuinely thrilled.

If you do not know what would happen to you if you were to die today, I implore you to continue reading the verses listed out below with brief explanations. You can pray at anytime, anywhere. You don't have to pray with someone else. You can cry out to God and confess that you are a sinner in need of a savior and He will meet you in that moment. I would be happy to communicate with you further if you have any questions or would like to speak with someone about it. E-mail me at

Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
We all have sin in our hearts. We all were born with sin.
We were born under the power of sin's control.
- Admit that you are a sinner.

Romans 6:23a "...The wages of sin is death..."
Sin has an ending. It results in death. We all face physical death, which is a result of sin. But a worse death is spiritual death that alienates us from God, and will last for all eternity. The Bible teaches that there is a place called the Lake of Fire where lost people will be in torment forever. It is the place where people who are spiritually dead will remain.
- Understand that you deserve death for your sin.

Romans 6:23b "...But the gift of God is eternal
life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Salvation is a free gift from God to you! You can't
earn this gift, but you must reach out and receive it.
- Ask God to forgive you and save you.

Romans 5:8, "God demonstrates His own love for us, in
that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us!"
When Jesus died on the cross He paid sin's penalty. He paid the price for all sin, and when He took all the sins of the world on Himself on the cross, He bought us out of slavery to sin and death! The only condition is that we believe in Him and what He has done for us, understanding that we are now joined with Him, and that He is our life. He did all this because He loved us and gave Himself for us!
- Give your life to God... His love poured out in Jesus on the cross is your only hope to have forgiveness and change. His love bought you out of being a slave to sin. His love is what saves you -- not religion, or church membership. God loves you!

Romans 10:13 "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved!"
- Call out to God in the name of Jesus!

Romans 10:9,10 "...If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."
- If you know that God is knocking on your heart's door,
ask Him to come into your heart.

Jesus said,
Revelation 3:20a "Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him..."
- Is Jesus knocking on your heart's door?

If you have responded and prayed to accept Christ today, please let me know-I'd love to rejoice with you! or you can comment below.

Oh, The Holidays!

Can you just feel the energy building all around you with overflowing cornucopia's, pumpkin spice candles, lights, trees, and stars just about everywhere? Throw in a little, "Let it Snow" or "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas" and you know you've arrived at just about any store around. We, as Americans, really seem to go all out this next month and a half! Like most, I absolutely love it! I love making our construction paper chains of what we are thankful for, people randomly smiling at others, going out of their way to bless those who may find themselves having less this year, reflecting on that night in Bethlehem when our Savior was born.

But I was reminded yesterday that Thanksgiving and Christmas can also be terribly lonely or hurting times for people. Although I have been there, it is so easy to forget. That first Christmas "without" mom, dad, aunt Betty or even a pet...these can be emotional and difficult times for many.

I in no way want to squelch even the littlest bit of your joy and excitement. I simply want to ask if you might go out of your way to do something kind for someone who is entering this season "without" someone special.

We can all probably think of someone. I don't mean that it is one more person for you to spend money on. Sometimes just knowing that someone is remembering your loss is all that it takes to encourage someone else. Sending a quick e-mail, a non-Christmas card, bringing them some chocolates and tissues and letting them know it is ok to grieve even when everyone else seems so happy. Just listening as they reminisce about past memories with the loved one lost.

After my mom had died, I remember that 1st Christmas without her...someone brought me an angel ornament and wrote a little note that they hoped the angel might represent that my mom was still with us in our hearts, but now she was able to dance and celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas at Jesus's table. It encouraged me. "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain." (Revelations 21:4) It also brought tears that I didn't even know that I needed to shed. It allowed me to continue the healing process instead of "stuffing" my hurt and just trying to keep moving forward along with everyone else.

So, if you can, take just a few minutes out of your busy season to bless someone and then jump right back into "The Wonderful Life" that you are living!

Many Blessings!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

In the Quiet

My husband blessed me this past weekend by sending me off to a hotel for two nights...BY MYSELF...if you had told me before kids that I would love that so much I would probably have laughed and said "Why would someone do that?" I love time with my husband and also fun girls nights or weekends, but sometimes I just need to get away from it all and be still. Yes, although I'm sure many do not see me as an introvert; at heart I still am.

I enjoy thinking deeply and examining those questions and ideas that I have "stuffed" into the corners of my mind "for later..." It is both encouragind and convicting to me and it is in the quiet that I personally am able to draw closer to the Lord.

It isn't always realistic to get away for a weekend though (this was my first in two years.) I am wondering how the rest of you find (take) those quiet moments...aside from nap time and after the kids are in bed...what do you do throughout your day to take that time? I am purposing to take more "mommy time outs" within the flow of my life.

So what is your best advice or idea for me? (I guess I should also mention that we do not have family around to help out or have the kids go spend the night...) I am all ears!

Many Blessings!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Titus 2 Tuesday - Never Return an Empty Dish

I am linking up for "Titus 2 Tuesday!" The idea behind this is really really simple.

"What have you learned from another woman this week (or ever)?"

My mom died when I was 20, so I have come to value the advice and wisdom of other women. Some older, some not. I think we can learn A LOT from our sisters in Christ! So here is my very first "Titus 2 Tuesday" post. I am choosing to honor my friend, Theresa...

Theresa is a fabulous cook who is generous enough to bring me left overs and samples here and there! I cannot remember the first time that I had given her something in a dish, but when she returned it back to me it was, of course, washed...and filled! With moist towelettes. I said, "What is this all about???" She informed me that "in the south," you never return a dish empty...usually she would have filled it with chocolates or some yummy treat, but she was fresh out so she gave what she had...moist towelettes! I LOVED it! Since then I have tried to never return a dish empty. Once I literally had NOTHING to put in a dish, so I wrote out some of my favorite Scriptures and placed them inside the dish and then covered it with plastic wrap. The person I gave it to said it blessed them tremendously. It was simple,easy and free!

So Theresa..."You go girl!" Love & HUGS!

Feel free to click the link above to check out more "Titus 2 Tuesday" posts!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Marital Moments Issue 13 - Love Your Neighbor

I dedicate this post to my amazing husband who inspires me in so many ways to be better than I am...

When we moved to VA a little over four years ago, it was culture shock for us coming from the West Coast. We were used to "outdoor" kind of people and in truth, we are "outdoor" kind of folks. What surprised us the most was how our neighbors came and went without so much as making eye contact or nodding to each other. They came home, drove into their garage. The "drawbridge" of their castle closed, and they were no more until dawn the following day. Now, I know that all of VA is not this way. But where we live, most individuals are commuting to Washington, D.C. (at least an hr one way) daily for work. And they are TIRED when they get home. All of that to say, it has taken A LOT of time, energy, and sometimes work to get to know those we live by.

My husband noticed that our next door neighbors were not mowing their lawn. Knowing that our HOA (Home Owners Association) is very active when it comes to infractions, he was sure that they were getting letters about leaving their lawn un-mowed. So he asked the wife one day while he was out mowing if she would mind if he mowed their lawn. They have some physical limitations and my husband had decided that with his driving lawn mower it wouldn't be difficult for him to mow their lawn now and then. She told him it was alright with them if he mowed.

So he began to mow their lawn (front and back) on the days that he mowed ours. After the first summer, they had not said anything to him - no "thank you's" or kind words about him taking the time to do it...nothing. I was a little irritated that he was going out of his way to help them and they weren't even thankful. My husband was slightly bothered, but told me that he had decided he was doing it as unto the Lord and not unto men. So he continued. Year after year to mow their lawn. Then he began to trim their front tree. Asked if he could remove the stump of a dead tree in their lawn and then removed it. He put fresh wood chips around the base of the tree in their front yard when we re-mulched our yard...all the time with their permission, but not really any "thanks." Gradually, however, they began to wave. Then they waved and smiled. Then they began to stop and say, "Hello." Last summer, they began to actually walk over to our driveway and talk for small lengths of time...and they said, "Thank you" to my husband for mowing, taking care of the stump, trimming the tree and the mulch. I was amazed.

At Christmas last year, the kids and I made cookies and I had them go to several of the neighbors houses. They would ring the doorbell and sing, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas!" hand the neighbors the cookies and tell them "Merry Christmas!" They had a blast doing it. Shortly after they had given our neighbors the cookies, our doorbell rang. There on the doorstep was our next door neighbors bearing gifts for every person in our family. They had bought special Christmas candy for the kids and chocolates for us and they had taken a photo of our house at night with the Christmas Lights on and had framed it for us. We invited them in and we chatted for almost a half an hour. They told us that we would never know how much it had meant to them that we would care enough to give of ourselves for them. They hold any hint of religion at arms length, but I can tell that my husband is making an impact through his actions.

This spring, when they were heading out of town and had asked us to keep an eye on their house for them, the kids and I asked my husband if we could plant some flowers and bushes in their flower bed (at the front of their house - but had nothing but weeds in it for years.) He had just had the same idea. He worked hard to dig up the hard ground, place new soil down and each of the kids planted some flowers and my husband planted the flowering bushes. They were thrilled when they came home. We now have neighbors and friends...because my husband was willing to serve as unto the Lord and not unto has impacted our marriage and our family for me (for all of us-children included) to see him lead in this way. There were times when I wanted to tell him to just quit...his time was worth more...but I am so glad that the Lord allowed me to be silent (for the most part...) and support him while he served. I am still praying for them to come to know Christ, but even if we don't reap what my husband has so generously sewn, I know that he has made an impact. I am blessed indeed...

I'd love to hear how your spouse has inspired you to be a better person! No spouse is perfect, but I believe most have at least one thing that can be inspiring...oh, and make sure to tell them how they have inspired you!

Many Blessings!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The P's of Praying

I loved the idea of praying 7 times a day for 7 days for my kids...I wish I could say I'm doing it perfectly, but I've already missed a few of those seven per day! Thank God for "Grace, grace, grace!" I know the heart of the idea is to get parents praying Scripture over their children and making it a part of their daily lives - which I know means more than whether or not I pray exactly seven times a day for them.

I have been thinking about the way that I normally pray over my children. I do pray for them throughout the day as well, but I pray for and over them at bedtime. Usually they like for me to pray first and then they pray. A mentor mom in the very first MOPS group that I was a part of in CO did a talk on praying for our kids and she had made a list of "P's" to be praying for:


There may have been more of them, but these are what have stuck with me over the years. I don't do a "memorized" prayer over them because I want to make sure that I am not simply speaking words over them, but praying from my heart. I am away from them tonight as I pray for them which is probably making me think about our nightly "routines" a little more. I guess I typically pray a lot like this (praying over my sons perspective):

"I pray blessings and peace over _____ (I make a cross with my fingers on their forehead as I do that first part...not sure how that started.) I pray that you would give ______ protection and purity physically, mentally, emotionally, and Spiritually. Please allow _______ to know you and to love your Word more and more every day. I pray that the Holy Spirit would be drawing their heart and mind to You. Please reveal _______'s purpose to him early in life and allow him to be passionate for that which you have called him to do. Allow them to walk in your power as they seek Your face. I ask that you would provide strong and true friendships - iron sharpen iron - friendships throughout his life and I pray for a beautiful and healthy loving wife who would love and respect him unconditionally and he her. I pray that you would bless their marriage and give them healthy beautiful children in Jesus name, Amen."

I also pray for any concerns that I know that they have in the moment and things that they are excited about, but that is basically what I pray over my children each night. I love when they pray. My Gentle Strength (middle child) will sometimes pray "over" me. He will begin by making the cross on my forehead and praying blessings and peace over me and then pray for things he knows that I am concerned with (getting to sleep all night, my MOPS meetings to go well, friends of mine who are going through difficulty...) It is precious and I love that they are learning how to pray for another person specifically.

One additional beautiful thing that I have recently heard of someone doing (at Joyful's blog) to help their children remember that they are praying for them when they are nervous, stressed or anxious about something is to put a few drops of perfume or cologne on your daughter or son's wrist and telling them that the fragrance represents your prayers for them. The aroma of the perfume/cologne will be their reminder throughout the day that they are loved and that you are praying for them. "For we are to God the aroma of Christ..." (2 Cor. 2:15)

I'd love to hear special things that you all do when praying for or over your children!

Many Blessings!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Seven Day Challenge

I loved this post over at Bring the Rain. She has put a challenge out there for parents to pray for and over their children seven times a day for the next seven days. Here is a portion of her post. Feel free to pop over and let her know that you are joining the challenge:

1. When they wake up: "Let the morning bring (child's name) word of your unfailing love, for she has put her trust in You. Show (her/him) the way (she/he) should go, for to you (he/she) lifts up her soul." (Adapted from Psalm 143:8)

2. When they are getting dressed: "Therefore, as God's chosen child, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Lord, help (him/her) bear with others and forgive whatever grievances (he/she) has against others. Help (him/her) forgive as the Lord forgave (him/her). And over all these virtues, help (him/her) put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." (Adapted from Colossians 3:12-14)

3. While they are eating: "Teach (child's name) the secret of being content in any and every situation whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Teach (him/her) that (he/she) can do everything through him who gives (him/her) strength." (Adapted from Philippians 4:12-13)

4. When they go out of the house: "(Name of child), do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-His good, pleasing and perfect will." (Adapted from Romans 12:2)

5. While they are taking a bath: Lord, give (name of child) clean hands and a pure heart, and let (him/her) not lift (his/her) soul to an idol or swear by what is false. Let (him/her) receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God (his/her) Savior. Let (him/her) be part of the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. (Adapted from Psalm 24:4-6)

6. When they are going to bed: "The Lord Your God is with you; he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, be will rejoice over you with singing." (Zephaniah 3:17)

7. While they are sleeping: "I pray that (name of child) will do everything without complaining or arguing, so that he/she may become blameless and pure, a child of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which he/she shines like a star in the universe as he/she holds out the word of life-in order that he/she may boast on the day of Christ that he/she did not run or labor for nothing." (Adapted from Philippians 2:14-16)

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Everyone experiences storms in their lives. Where is God when it is raining in our lives? Why does He allow the storms to come?

A friend sent me this link to watch (below). It is amazing. It is eleven minutes long, and completely worth your time. I would not ask you to invest the time if I didn't wholeheartedly believe it would bless you. I was already familiar with "Nooma's" ministry as our life group did an entire series a couple of years ago. I was reminded again that I want to own these DVD's.

Watch 001 Rain. If you would like it bigger, move your cursor to the video screen and a toolbar should pop up at the bottom of it. Click on the black square with four arrows pointing out from the corners.

Click Here: Check out ""

He knows the way and He loves you...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Like the Sprite in You!

Does anyone (other than me) remember those old Sprite commercials? This particular one holds a special meaning for me. Several years ago (obviously!) I had decided that I would listen to God's voice and actually respond if I sensed Him prompting me to do something. I had heard stories of others who had been "prompted" by God to do things and how God amazingly worked and blessed others out of their obedience.

So I was out on a lunch break one day and I had to make a run by the grocery store to pick up a few things. On my way, I saw an elderly man out in front of his house mowing his yard. It was a terribly HOT day and he looked like he was struggling. I felt God prompt my heart to bring him a cold drink. Immediately my mind began justifying why I shouldn't:

1. I didn't even know this man!
2. I didn't have much time...hadn't even eaten lunch yet
3. What was I going to do, just pull over and hand him a cold drink???

Then Mark 9:41 popped into my mind, "For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward."

"O.K., God, I am listening!" I thought. But the man's front yard was tiny and I thought surely he would be finished by the time I had acquired a cold drink for him! I went on my way to the grocery store, got my items and then at the check out grabbed a cold Sprite out of the cooler next to the register. IF the man was still there when I drove by, I would do it!

I have NO IDEA what kind of technical difficulties that poor gentleman must have had while I was gone, but there he was still mowing that tiny plot of land. I remember my heart beating like crazy as I jumped out of my car, handed him the Sprite and said something about how he looked hot and God told me to give him a cold drink. Jumped back in my car and drove off.

It was my beginning in listening to God speak to me and choosing to allow Him to use me to bless others even if in seemingly strange ways. There have been several times over the years now when God has impressed things upon my heart to do. Sometimes I see His purposes and others I may never know what He was up to. Maybe I will hear, "the rest of the story..." up in heaven some day. The thing that I have learned over the years is not to allow myself to "reason" my way out of doing things I am prompted to do. I have had a few of those "missed opportunities" as well. Times when I have been prompted to do or say something, talked myself out of it and then afterward known that I should have acted but knowing the opportunity was gone.

If you have never experienced God in this way before I encourage you to give it a try. Ask Him to speak to your heart and to use you to be a blessing to someone. Be prepared that you may automatically begin to "reason" your way out of the very thing He is asking you to do - if you find yourself "reasoning" check yourself to see if there is a good reason why you shouldn't do it...

I would love to hear some of your "God" stories!

One more oldie but goodie..."Where's the beef?!" Now I am really showing my age!

Click here to read MORE "True Story Tuesday" Posts!

Many blessings!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Marital Moments Issue 12 - Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh!

Our family spent the afternoon at the Marine Museum play area yesterday. With such amazing fall weather and leaves, we had a blast. Our kids connected with another families children who were there and my daughter proclaimed them, "Forever Friends!" as we were departing.

My husband and I opted to go out to dinner after a long fun day instead of rushing home to get dinner started so off to a restaurant we went - twigs and leaf pieces still stuck in our hair.

Our littlest one had played hard and was not our usual well-behaved child ...instead he would scream UNLESS he got to sit on the booth between my husband and I. Thankfully, they seated us near the back exit somewhat away from other diners. Actually, the littlest one was pretty much sitting on me throughout dinner...My husband looked over at his vision of a wife...leaves and twig remnants in my hair, rice, guacamole, chicken, sour cream, salsa etc. smeared all over me and said...

"Maybe I should just pull the van around back here and you could make a run for it out the back door!?"

I instantly envisioned the van screeching up and my husband eagerly motioning for me to "make a run for it!" While I knew his heart in it was to protect me from the potential embarrassment of running into someone (as it seems we do every time we are out to eat), I had never anticipated that my husband might ever suggest that I "make a run for the van" as he screeched the tires around back instead of choosing to walk with his wife out through the front doors of a restaurant. I had a I choose to take offense at his comments or laugh with him about the concept? Meanwhile, he saw the delay in my reaction and could tell that I had been processing his words so I saw him quickly check his comment in his mind...

"Oh, I TOTALLY did not mean that how it sounded..." he began.

I assured him that I really did understand how he had meant it. But that he was lucky that we didn't own a dog! :) He insisted that we walk out together (arm around me) to let the world know that he was proud of this "mess of a wife" that he had been blessed with...

It is so easy to take up an offense. Even an unintended one. We need to be careful not to let our own insecurities entrap us in offense. Nothing positive or good comes from it and people keep their guards up with those who are easily offended - thus blocking true friendship and intimacy.

Romans12:18 "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

I'll be dashing out the back door now! Many Blessings!

Friday, November 7, 2008

String of Pearls

What a gorgeous fall day! The dimensions and vast arrays of colors are stunning. I have always LOVED this time of year.

Colorful fall leaves remind me that it is when we die to ourselves that true beauty can be revealed and that even after physical death - there is MORE.

I received the heart wrenching news yesterday that a precious and highly anticipated baby was still born. The first time mother was days away from her due date and felt playful kicks up until the day before her baby was born. She had gone to her last OB appointment and the heartbeat could not be found. They induced and several hours later this family got to meet their precious 7 lb baby "Grace." But they had to meet and say goodbye almost in one breath.

There simply are not words for this kind of loss. But it has been such a testimony of God's faithfulness, grace and peace that He offers His children. "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:4; (Jesus Said:) "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:2

They are not alone in this journey. Sadly, many have had to walk similar paths. You may have noticed the new link on the side of my blog "String of Pearls." It is a ministry that has been birthed out of similar loss and pain. God has planted hope and healing within their lives and they walk with families into the valley. Weep with them, allow them to grieve among those who deeply understand, and help point them to Christ so they too can experience the hope and healing needed to climb back up the slope out of the valley and into the new buds of spring that God has been cultivating within them during the long cold months of winter.

Heather and Jeff (and their families) have found themselves in the deepest parts of the valley right now, but thankfully they know the hope of Jesus Christ. (Some of the richest green is found in the valleys.) Please pray for them. They need brothers and sisters in Christ to be holding them up. If you would like to help in a "hands on" kind of way, please e-mail me at If you would like to support the ministry of "String of Pearls," you can click on the links or their picture on the side of my blog and be directly connected to their website.

God's Peace to You~

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

God is Smiling

I know in light of the election you may be wondering what this title is all about...we have a lot going on here in the United States, but my title is referring to the Spiritual happenings half way around the world in the mountain community of Kaveng, New Guinea. "God is Smiling" was the title of the e-mail that my step mother sent out giving us the update about how the "teachings" are going.

They began on Sunday and had a total of 70 adults and 20 children/teens present for the teaching (which is a miracle in itself!) The people were all quiet and attentive. (Another answered prayer as these people do not normally have "meetings" of large groups.) The missionaries began by individually sharing why it is that each of them was willing to leave their homes and families to come live within the Madak people. They have traded in comfort, amenities, and their own families because they are passionate about these people coming to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Chris Bittner then began teaching from the Bible beginning with creation. The people listened, seemed open to the Word, and have been asking questions and returning for subsequent "teachings." In total, there will be 70 Bible lessons culminating with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus sometime in March. The tribal leaders are still being supportive and attending. The missionaries can feel the prayer covering. It is a God thing...

My Step mom, Beth, said something specific that I wanted to share:

"As you prayed you became part of this team. This is a total team effort: the missionaries, the language helpers and YOU."

They need our continued prayer support. If any of you would like to send messages or Scriptures to them to encourage them along the way, please either leave them under the "comments" section of this post or e-mail me at

"Sing to the Lord, all the earth; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; He also is to be feared above all gods" ( 1 Chron. 16:23-25).

Thank you for praying.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Marital Moments Issue 11 - Widening the Lens of Life

I'm sure that we have all heard the saying that, "you don't know what you have until it's gone." If you have ever lost a loved one, you understand in a deeper way what this phrase means. When my mom was first diagnosed with terminal cancer, it brought a lot of my life into focus in a much clearer way. I watched my parents let go of so many trivial things that they had held onto over the years in their marriage in light of this new serious diagnosis. They lived out her last couple of years with such openness, tenderness and selflessness. It was beautiful and yet deeply saddening to watch. So many years had passed by without the openness and tenderness between them. Not intentionally, I am certain, but still days past that cannot be returned.

Many of us who are married do this "holding onto the trivial" without even realizing it. Our spouse wrongs us, annoys us, forgets to put the seat down, forgets to close the cupboards after they get something, run the family vehicle down to almost empty before filling it every time, etc. Trivial things that if we allow ourselves to hold onto with negativity, resentment or anger end up becoming bigger issues throughout the years. We may not have huge things that cause a deep caverns between us, but we allow the small things to divide and steal peace and joy that God intended for us to know as a married couple. Our heavenly father is the designer of this sacred union. It is meant to be an earthly glimpse into an eternal union as we, the church, become HIS bride.

In previous posts, I have eluded to the fact that my husband has on-going health issues. He has Crohn's disease. He has been told by many a specialist that his is in the the 1% of extreme cases of the disease. He has had several surgeries and many near death experiences while dealing with this disease over the years. So much positive has come from his illness in our marriage. Don't get me wrong, it has been agonizing, frightening, maddening, and draining as well; but God began opening our eyes to the good in it all about six years ago and gradually as we allow Him to refine us, we can see the benefits in so many ways. One huge blessing is that it allows us to never lose sight of our own mortality and how blessed we are to have each other every day. Another blessing is how it has allowed us to walk with God in deeper and real way. (To read more on that read this previous post.)

Sometimes in our view of life we zoom in so close to an object that it gets distorted or all of the flaws are magnified. It is easy to do this "zooming in" on those closest to us - our spouse and children. Sometimes we need to widen our lens and be sure to capture the whole picture of who they are in our life and let go of the trivial flaws. As I am writing this God is prompting my heart to widen my lens with my children...I pray He will touch your heart as well.

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Phil. 2:3-4 (Our "family verse")

*On a separate note, I am still waiting to hear how the first "teachings" have gone in New Guinea. I will post an update as soon as I hear, but I am expecting amazing things!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Please Pray

I have written before about my step mother and how she has answered the call to fly across the world to be with her daughter and other missionaries as they begin teaching about Jesus to a tribe who HAS NEVER HEARD the gospel before! To read my previous post click here.

The time is now and the teachings begin tomorrow! (Sunday, November 2nd here in the States) If you would take even just one minute and ask God to open the hearts of the Madak people and that He would empower and speak through the missionaries there in Kaveng. It would be eternally appreciated.

Chris Bittner & Karl Greeb will be doing the teaching. Please cover both of them in prayer. They are feeling a bit like Moses at this point (when God told him to go before the Pharoah and tell him to let God's people go.) Please ask God to fill them with the right words and empower them to do this. Please be in prayer for the entire team of missionaries.

Here is a short note from Beth (my step mom):

"These people have been in spiritual darkness for centuries. The forces of evil are not happy about the Truth soon to be taught. Thanks in advance for praying for tomorrow’s meeting. Thanks in advance for asking God to continue to keep a hedge around the missionaries up here. Thanks in advance for praying that the light of the Gospel, the Truth of the Word of God, will enlighten these dear people who live in constant fear. "

Thank you all for praying. I will keep you updated.
Many Blessings!!