Thursday, December 23, 2010

Those Who Dream...



A year and a half ago, after almost a year and a half into our journey of TTC, I began to feel the discouragement keenly. Simultaneously, Arno was feeling strongly that the Lord was moving us towards buying a house. I had been hesitant to move forward in this. I mean the "plan" is babies first, house second, right??

One day, as I read my daily Bible reading, I came across these verses in Isaiah 54:

1 “Sing, O childless woman,
you who have never given birth!
Break into loud and joyful song, O Jerusalem,
you who have never been in labor.
For the desolate woman now has more children
than the woman who lives with her husband,”
says the L
ord.
2 “Enlarge your house; build an addition.
Spread out your home, and spare no expense!
3 For you will soon be bursting at the seams.
Your descendants will occupy other nations
and resettle the ruined cities.

In the months that followed, the Lord opened up doors to not only purchase a house that we loved, but also provided long-term renters almost immediately upon realizing we would be moving back to America. I thought the "expanse" meant the house literally, but I can see how the Father's dreams for us are even larger. He is stretching us in faith, in finances, in every aspect of our "human" nature, so because I am human......

SOME DAYS ARE JUST REAL HARD!

Hard to trust....

Hard to keep the faith....

Hard to see and to feel His hands holding me close....

Hard to remember that "the Lord is not slack concerning His promises...."

and sometimes....

JUST HARD just BECAUSE "I" cannot any longer!!

So the Lord gave me a new promise from Psalm 126 to hold onto because He is gracious and because I forget, and I believe that this heralds a new season for my life:

1 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dreamed.

2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
3 The LORD has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.

My favorite line is "....we were like those who dreamed...." which is spoken on the coat tails of restoration. What Satan has tried (and some days almost succeeded) to steal from my life, the Lord will NOT ONLY restore, but it will be SO GREAT that it will feel as if I am dreaming...to the point that "the nations" will see and proclaim the goodness of the Lord due to His hand upon my life.

What a beautiful promise!

And while the promise is beautiful, real life is MESSY!

I don't get it right every day or have the faith that I want to, yet I know He is "faithful, even when I am unfaithful," or wanting to give up and throw in the towel. When I don't know who I am or where I am going, I know, in my Spirit, He is holding me close, calling to me to rest for awhile, to let go, to trust, to give up control....and HE will fill my mouth with laughter and RESTORE!!

What are you believing for God to restore this year?
What promise are you standing on that He has made to you?
What do you do when you doubt His hand, His love, His promises?






Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Welcome Macy Hope! (my goddaughter)

I love how alert she was here even though just a few hours old.
Macy Hope Kinlaw~7lbs, 4oun, 19in
December 17, 2010

Join me at Wordless Wednesday, A Beautiful Mess, Faded Charm, My Life in Jenga and Live and Love Outloud.



Monday, December 20, 2010

Power in the Blood, Part 2 (Multitude Monday #43-50)

***Content of this posting is raw concerning my own journey and may be "tmi - too much information" for some readers. Proceed with caution. :) :)***

I have delayed in continuing on with my personal thoughts on The Blood of Jesus but since I said that I would and the issue has become more real to me again this month, I am going to share.

I wrote a few months ago about the journey and some of the emotions that my husband and I have been through as we are TTC (trying to conceive). Each month we have hoped and dreamed and planned and waited, especially during the infamous "two-week-wait" (between ovulation & period), however, that desire has not yet become a reality.

When I was a teenager, and I first started my period, I did not complain like many friends that I knew in spite of any symptoms like cramping, lightheadedness, weakness, etc that I may have felt because I knew that this "blood" was a necessary part of the process for me to have children one day. I actually rejoiced in the normalcy of my cycle. I was thankful because I never wanted to have "problems" getting pregnant. This thought process has continued on even as the symptoms surrounding that "time of the month" increased as well as the intensity of the flow itself. I saw the prize at the end of the line and it was so precious and valuable to me that I could feel it and I just KNEW it was worth it.

Almost 20 years from the first time, my period now holds a different meaning. I don't even have to take a pregnancy test because I have a perfect visual sign screaming to me, "NOT PREGNANT!" Now, I realize that some people continue to bleed regularly throughout their pregnancy, so yes, many months I have still taken a pregnancy test at the end of my cycle, and I just get that one little lonely line or the worst test yet that actually says the words "not pregnant" (not sure if I want to buy that test again....lol).

So that is what prompted my thoughts on the Blood of Jesus...He had to die, to completely drain every drop of His blood in order to give us life. Through death, through blood, we now have life.

Each month, my body MUST go through a cleansing, a preparation for life. My body is literally bleeding to give life -- one day. Now that "one day" may not have been as soon as I would have liked or thought, but since my body is constantly preparing for that day, I will TRY to place my hope in that. Instead of seeing "the blood" as a sign of NOT PREGNANT, I will visualize my HOPE.

This may/may not hold the same meaning to you as it does to me, but it makes what Jesus did for me on the cross all the more real, and lest you think that I am writing this from a place of strength, let me be completely transparent -- I AM NOT! Yesterday is what I describe as "a bad day" -- a day where I want to give up hope, to die to my own and/or God's dreams forever, to feel nothing - not joy or pain, and I am not sure that I am completely out of that yet.

However......

I am CHOOSING!

So while this day doesn't "feel" like a day where I want to write my gifts nor does this topic seem very connected with what some people may feel comfortable reading on Multitude Monday, I am making a choice to thank God for what IS and not what ISN'T. I may have to choose again tomorrow, but Jesus said that tomorrow has enough worry of its own so I can only focus on today.

Gratitude - a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation, as for gifts or favours;
the state of feeling grateful

#43 - My parents are alive (after the earthquake in Haiti) and we can celebrate life TOGETHER this Christmas

#44 - When I want to give up, Jesus is right there holding me close

#45 - My good friend, Tricia, who lets me be SO RAW with no judgment or sermons, when I need it

#46 - Snow - it is my mom's favorite (one of mine too) and we got some just hours after she & Dad flew in from Haiti

#47 - Friends who chose us and our entrusting us with the role of "godparents" to their new little baby girl, Macy Hope

#48 - The miracle of life -- Macy Hope -- after death and miscarriage, she is the visual of HOPE to the Kinlaw family

#49 - This blog - a place where I can write out my heart....it has been TOO long!

#50 - Laura Bush - so thankful for her words of transparency about her own journey of TTC:

For some years now, the wedding invitations that had once crowded the mailbox had been replaced by shower invites and pink-or-blue-beribboned baby announcements. I bought onesies or rattles, wrapped them in yellow paper, and delivered them to friends. I had done it with a happy wistfulness, believing that someday my time, my baby, would come. George and I had hoped that I would be pregnant by the end of his congressional run. Then we hoped it would be by the time his own father announced his presidential run, then by the presidential primaries, the convention, the general election. But each milestone came and went. The calendar advanced, and there was no baby.

The English language lacks the words to mourn an absence. For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child or friend, we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful some not. Still we are conditioned to say something, even if it is only “I’m sorry for your loss.” But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture that particular emptiness. For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like silent ephemeral shadows over their lives. Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?

I have joined The Gratitude Community -- a place to be inspired by others and what God is doing in their lives, a chance to share my own journey of gratitude, and an opportunity to REMEMBER to be grateful in ALL things. So every Monday, I will add to my list of 1000 gifts of all the graces God has provided in my life. Would you consider joining me? Even if you don't blog, you can join the gratitude community by starting a gratitude journal, mentionning your gifts on Facebook, or sending e-mails to your friends. Let's work together to help in creating a more thankful, joyous world.

holy experience




Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Power in the Blood, Part 1

Blood alone moves the wheels of history. ~Martin Luther


In the past two years of my life, I have learned more about the Blood of Jesus than in the previous 30 years of my life thanks to Pastors Bert & Charne and 3C Ministries. And I feel confident enough to say that I believe it IS and will always be at the top of the list of the single greatest teachings that have changed my way of thinking, living, breathing, approaching people & life.

To know, to understand, to appreciate and to TRY to comprehend the power in the Blood of Jesus is to transform HOW we understand the Father and the gift of eternal life, HOW we reach out to people and share the love of Jesus, and HOW we approach daily living as a follower of Jesus.

Blood represents life. In your blood, you can find out all kinds of things -- your DNA, any health issues, your blood type, etc. So when we accept Jesus' sacrifice on the cross by asking for forgiveness for our sins & transgressions, we are acknowledging the NECESSITY that His Blood holds for our very existence. We, then, spiritually speaking, receive a blood transfusion. When you receive a blood transfusion, that new life becomes a part of you -- the new blood fuses with your blood and then become one. The new blood causes the areas of your body that were suffering to breathe new life again. That is how it is with the Blood of Jesus....His Blood transforms your blood, your life, your heart and you actually take on HIS nature, HIS love, HIS transforming power. Where you were dying, you will now live -- but LIVE a life beyond what you knew before.

Blood is the life source for all living creatures -- man & animal. When the blood is drained, the life is depleted. When Jesus' Blood was drained, his human life was finished, however, when he rose again, NOW, that human life had a greater purpose. It was pure, miraculous, different than any blood in human history. Through the Blood, death became life....for US!

When you believe, His Blood is precious!!

Read the words of Peter below to understand WHY His Blood is so precious....

I Peter 1:18-23

18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days.

21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.

22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters.d]" style="font-size: 0.75em; line-height: 0.5em; ">[d] Love each other deeply with all your heart.e]" style="font-size: 0.75em; line-height: 0.5em; ">[e]

23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.

**Come back tomorrow for my personal application & recent revelation of how the understanding of the blood specifically applies in my life.



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I am LEARNING!

Wow! So I have REALLY neglected my poor little blog over these past few weeks, but with great reason...so I hope you will indulge me in a little life review.

In the last 6 weeks we have packed up our belongings and moved out of our South African home, travelled to Cape Town for a beautiful week with Arno's parents, flew the LONG 18+ hours to arrive in Maryland, spent a week visiting with friends and family, flew, AGAIN, this time, to Haiti to arrive in the loving arms of Mom & Dad, rested & visited & worked for two weeks while there, and have FINALLY now just arrived back from my birthplace two days ago.

We were literally on the soil of three DIVERSE countries in 10 days and while I LOVE travel, I am glad to stay put for a time to hear from the Lord about this next journey & season.

I have so many thoughts and learning experiences that I would like to share, but as I am still LEARNING and EXPERIENCING in many ways, please bear with me as I sort through my thoughts to share this aspect of my journey. It is exciting and SUPER scary, but I know the Lord's hand continues to be heavily upon us!

Thanks to so many of you for your words of encouragement, your prayers, and your love. While invaluable in any season of life, it is a lifeline to me during this time!


Just a little teaser for upcoming posts.....

The 5 senses delight in Capetown

I am 3 people.

Cleaning off the ashes

Rediscovering my identity

...just to name a few!

WATCH THIS SPACE!!




Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Reverse Culture Shock

We have been back in America for a week and it is so funny how as much as I have travelled and transitioned from culture to culture over the years, I am still surprised when I experience culture shock. As much as I missed the "American" way while living in South Africa, I realize that I had adapted to the South African way more than I realized.

While doing laundry, I find myself asking, "Why is the (tumble) dryer SO big??"

While planning meals, I find myself confounded on what I used to make here, which spices I need, and how to budget in dollars.

While interacting with people, the realization that for me and Arno, being from two different cultures, means one of us is ALWAYS different and doesn't "quite" blend in. Now Arno is wearing that hat....

....and more things that are still revealing themselves to me.

Reverse culture shock is so very strange. How can you forget the culture that you grew up in --well, sort of grew up in -- the culture of my family, at the very least, the culture that I lived in for 10 years before moving away?

It is quite the phenomenon that as hard as it is to adjust, once you do, you are different, changed -- for LIFE!!

So again the transitions come.....

Have you experienced culture shock travelling overseas or even coming back home? What are some things that you have done to help yourself adjust?




Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Another Chapter Ends...

Since I last posted, we packed up our belongings in our beautiful house to prepare it to be an investment property, we travelled to gorgeous Cape Town (more on that in another post) with Arno’s parents, and we re-packed for the 3rd time in the last 10 days.

And now…...

Today is the day that we leave on a jet plane, not knowing when exactly that we will be back again.

I wrote a few weeks ago about how life is a bittersweet symphony, and it is true. I feel that keenly today.

My Facebook wall is filled with mixed messages…

from
“I don’t want you to pack” and “I miss you already”
to
“I can’t wait to hug your neck” and “I am counting down the days.”

And so the pages turn….

But love....love carries on. It is not quantifiable; it cannot be measured by the color of your skin, the place you are born the language you speak, or the way you style your hair.

While America is the country of my passport , my accent, & my immediate heritage, Haiti is the country of my birth & my original “people” and South Africa is the country of my husband, my adult maturing, & some of my BIG TIME grace learning. So no matter what country I find myself in, there are people that I will miss and others that I will hug and have coffee with (figuratively since I don’t actually drink coffee). :) :)

So here’s the thing: When you truly love people, saying goodbye is NEVER easy.

And while tomorrow, I will hug my sister for the first time in 9 months (and I can’t wait), there are “sisters” (and brothers) here whose embraces I may not feel for just as long or longer and my heart truly feels that sorrow.

I will miss biltong and pepperdews and fresh avocado MOST of the year
I will miss no humidity basically year round.
I will miss the diversity of cultures and languages all in one place.
I will miss living in our God-given house.

But mostly I will miss the faces…..
…the faces of the children greeting me on Sunday mornings

…the faces of my disciples walking through the door of our house on Monday nights

…the faces of my leaders challenging me in the Word and laughing at LIFE

…the faces of “my boys” as I walked into the office every day, into the sanctuary they called the Wisdom Academy

...the faces of friends JUST happy to see MY face

...the faces of diversity & culture, of laughter & sorrow, of joys & fears….

So today, I say, “Goodbye, Rainbow Nation!”

But just for now…..

I will see you again soon!

You can count on that!




Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Season of Transitioning

Transitions ARE NOT fun!

While change is challenging and exciting all at the same time, transitioning from one step to the next is hard -- REAL HARD!

Our women's pastor at ORU, Brenda Coomer, used to say, "The enemy (Satan) attacks in times of transition." I have found this to be very true in every changing season of my life. The distractions & temptations & attacks & insecurities & fears seems to RISE to an all-time high during this time.

And I know the answer to surviving & thriving during this time.

Connecting to my Father.

And yet staying close to His heartbeat and following closely in His footsteps seems EVEN harder in these times. When I seem to need Him the most, I run the farthest away in a flurry of planning, activity, and trying to figure things out!!

Am I alone in this? Do you struggle with this to?

Why do we run away from the VERY ONE who can bring clarity and peace and joy in the ups and downs of our mixed up lives?

My Arno is really such a great role model to me in this season in how he has made seeking the Lord's face his TOP priority. I am thankful to the Lord for gracing me with such a generous man who teaches me by example.


And I am thankful for such a patient heavenly DAD who uses not only my husband but also blogs from faces I have never met, beautiful changes in nature, words of encouragement from those I love, moments of conflict in this season as well as my never-ending analytical brain to help me to grow and grow and grow.

One thing is for sure -- at least in transitions, you cannot become stagnant. And since stagnancy brings death.....I am going to thrive and live in this season by His precious grace.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Farewell to the Faces of South Africa

During this week, while we are packing up to leave South Africa, I would like to share a few "faces" of this beautiful country that have graced my life in special ways over the past 3 years and make this Rainbow Nation SUCH a unique place to live....

Isabella


Baby Ethan & his new friend :)


Uncle Jakes & Auntie Gloria


....and my favorite of the week for Sweet Shot Tuesday and Communal Global where I am linking up to both for the first time this week. These two faces are coming with me on the next step of the journey....it's nice to take a few familiar things with you...:)


My Bokkie and my baby girl, Patches




Sweet Shot Day

Monday, September 6, 2010

Multitude Monday - #35-42

Gratitude - a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation, as for gifts or favours;
the state of feeling grateful

~35. Change - although I hate change, I am thankful because it causes me to cling to the Father more

~36. Ability to be able to GIVE because of the change

~37. Learning to lay down the idols in my life

~38. Freshly cut flowers gracing my home



~39. Change in weather -- loving the smell of spring in South Africa

~40. The smell of freshly varnished wood (reminding me of my childhood)


~41. Receiving and giving love even in "good-byes"


~42. People who touch our lives -- for seasons, for reasons, or for a lifetime


I have joined The Gratitude Community -- a place to be inspired by others and what God is doing in their lives, a chance to share my own journey of gratitude, and an opportunity to REMEMBER to be grateful in ALL things. So every Monday, I will add to my list of 1000 gifts of all the graces God has provided in my life. Would you consider joining me? Even if you don't blog, you can join the gratitude community by starting a gratitude journal, mentionning your gifts on Facebook, or sending e-mails to your friends. Let's work together to help in creating a more thankful, joyous world.

holy experience


These Things are IDOLS????

As I have mentionned before in previous posts and for those who know me personally will know well, I am a person who likes to mark acheivements in tangible ways -- 1st place in the race, the winner of a friendly board game, love & adoration from someone whose life that you touched or impacted,

Do know what I am talking about? Are you like this too??

My loving Father has been steadily hammering in this point into my consciousness recently:

Why are you finding your identity in your successes, accomplishments, goals, acheivements??


Why do you NEED to feel "important" by having something to show up to the world as proof of your value?


I read a post by Ann Voskamp recently that named what this thought process really is -- IDOL WORSHIP. If what I have to present to the world, to the Father is of more value than my connection TO the Father Himself, then that ONE thing(s)becomes my idol.



OUCH! Really?? In wanting to please Him, I become an idol worshippper!! That hurts! But yet, it is still so true....

I have been getting "back into" Oswald Chambers' My Utmost For His Highest again over the last month. His words are straight-forward, hard-to-swallow (at times), and direct to the heart, past all the "stuff" that we hold up to make ourselves feel holy and good. I wanted to share today's devotional with you because it encouraged and challenged me....

The Far-Reaching Rivers of Life
He who believes in Me . . . out of his heart will flow rivers of living water —John 7:38

A river reaches places which its source never knows. And Jesus said that, if we have received His fullness, “rivers of living water” will flow out of us, reaching in blessing even “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8 ) regardless of how small the visible effects of our lives may appear to be. We have nothing to do with the outflow— “This is the work of God, that you believe. . .” ( John 6:29 ). God rarely allows a person to see how great a blessing he is to others.

A river is victoriously persistent, overcoming all barriers. For a while it goes steadily on its course, but then comes to an obstacle. And for a while it is blocked, yet it soon makes a pathway around the obstacle. Or a river will drop out of sight for miles, only later to emerge again even broader and greater than ever. Do you see God using the lives of others, but an obstacle has come into your life and you do not seem to be of any use to God? Then keep paying attention to the Source, and God will either take you around the obstacle or remove it. The river of the Spirit of God overcomes all obstacles. Never focus your eyes on the obstacle or the difficulty. The obstacle will be a matter of total indifference to the river that will flow steadily through you if you will simply remember to stay focused on the Source. Never allow anything to come between you and Jesus Christ— not emotion nor experience— nothing must keep you from the one great sovereign Source.

Think of the healing and far-reaching rivers developing and nourishing themselves in our souls! God has been opening up wonderful truths to our minds, and every point He has opened up is another indication of the wider power of the river that He will flow through us. If you believe in Jesus, you will find that God has developed and nourished in you mighty, rushing rivers of blessing for others.

Father, help me to keep my focus on the Source, not on the influence, achievements, or successes in my life, but truly on YOU alone. I cannot change this without Your help. Where I am so weak, may Your strength be revealed.


"We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love." (2 Corinthians 6:6)


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Posts That Warm My Heart

Sharing with you some posts from my fellow bloggers out there who have touched, encouraged or made me smile this week as well as a couple of my own posts that are my favs of the week.

FROM ME

This week I shared on how saying goodbye is bittersweet and how blessed I am to be celebrating 5 years of marriage with my sweetheart.


THOSE WHO SHARE MY JOURNEY

I discovered Gypsy Mama this week. I connected with her story so amazingly as someone who married someone from another culture and living in 3 different countries/cultures. Her writing style will appeal to you even if her story isn't the same as yours.


Holley at Heart to Heart with Holley encourages my heart in my own journey as she has also struggled through the process of becoming a biological mommy. (She and I also have the same wedding anniversary! Cool!)

Gitzen Girl's story has challenged and inspired me as she is dealing with a chronic illness much worse than what I have experienced. It has changed her whole life, yet she walks in faith and in beauty in her walk with the Father.


INSPIRATIONAL CHALLENGES

Ray at Student of Jesus shares with us the lost art of front porch sitting. It is more than you think. Check it out!

I found an old post from Ann Voskamp at Holy Experience in my wandering this week that challenged my current relationship with my Father in prayer.

Glenn Packiam, a fellow ORU alum, shares about something that the Father has been consistently reminding me of this year: HIS LOVE.

JUST FOR FUN

Adding Zest to Your Nest shares some random fun for you to add to your marriage to spice things up. :)

Metropolitan Mama talks about sharing the beloved Anne of Green Gables with her oldest daughter....(I just LOVE ANNE -- really!!).
Are you a night owl or an early bird? Check out Jennifer's post at Conversion Diary to see the pros, the cons, and the "somewhere in betweenies."

The WOW Factor

Tim & Steph along with their two little girls have decided to sell almost all of their possessions and travel in an RV and GIVE EVERY DAY. You SO have to check this out...it challenges and amazes me!


I hope that you are having an amazing weekend and that one (or more) of the above posts will warm your heart as they have mine!

Linking up today with:

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Check out her posts and browse through the other bloggers who linked up for the party for this weekend.



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