Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Missions Dinner

We are having a great time this week with Grandma Koopman (Bonnie's mom) visiting! She's a Seattle native so yesterday we checked out Pike Place Market as well as her old neighborhood on Lake Washington...what a cool house she grew up in and neat to hear her stories.

Sunday night she joined us for our church's Missions Dinner to raise support for our missionaries, and a great time was had by all. They creatively had both a silent auction with lots of donated items and a LIVE auction for things like babysitters, laborers, timeshares, and Gabe donated a FLIGHT in this lovely plane he's working on! Let's hope the lucky winners enjoy it!

We're so blessed to have been led to a church with an increasing focus on missions, both long and short-term. In fact, our friends the Joshuas are stepping out in faith and taking their whole family to Belize for the summer to support a church planted there. You can read more about it on their blog. So excited to see how the Lord uses them and praying for them to have peace and safety on the journey!

And a bit envious....our time will come :-)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Seeking Direction

Isaiah 30:21

New International Version (NIV)
"21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice(A) behind you, saying, “This is the way;(B) walk in it."

 Have you ever noticed the minute you think things are "calm" or you get an unexpected break in your normal busy routine, all sorts of other things you'd been neglecting, whether physical or spiritual pop up to the surface? It's been like that around here lately. Calm-ER with homeschool out for the summer, but lots of other things the Lord has us pondering. Foremost:

1. Do we continue to homeschool for another year or send the kids to our local public elementary school? This is such a huge decision for any parents; how to best educate your children? And I know many parents would never consider not homeschooling, and certainly not public school as an alternative. I myself have never set foot in a public school classroom, and Gabe only through 3rd grade. So we are not considering this lightly. The Lord has spoken a few things to us while praying through this that we'd like to share, and we covet your prayers that we will see His will clearly and obey!

One thing He's encouraged us to remember is that they are His children first, entrusted to us to raise. And they are blessings to us, not burdens!

Psalm 127:4-5

New King James Version (NKJV)
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them

(I think our quiver is full with 3!)


His plan for them is bigger than whatever plans we might make. We may want to "protect" them through homeschooling, but He may have plans for them to shine His light in the public school. He may have teachers there who can encourage our kids in ways we can't. He may want to use our family in the community by getting us involved in what is the center of this little town. Or He may simply want us to submit the decision to Him, to confirm that we really are called by Him to homeschooling, not just deciding on our own.

I have to admit, it was a tremendous amount of work for us this year, and challenging to our relationships with the kids, since "school" had always been separate from "parents" for them before. If we do it again, we need to be more led by the Spirit and less in our own strength. And if we send them to public school, there will be spiritual battles waged there daily that we need to cover in prayer. There will also undoubtedly be educational gaps and difficulties with other kids to overcome.

Another thing we are praying about that is related: what ministry does He have specifically for me? I have an idea on this one, but will save that until it's more out of its infancy :-) It would use my professional skills as well as my ministry gifts well, I think. I have no idea where to begin and it would take a lot more time...so again, is my time needed and best used by homeschooling or does God have something else for me and the kids this year? I don't think I could do both, but He may have that for me too!

Then we add to that: should we purchase a second car? We've gotten along fine with one this year, but the backseat is a bit tight for three kids, two in car seats, and it prevents us from being able to drive anyone else to play dates, VBS, etc. And I may need another vehicle for ministry separate from what Gabe is doing. So we're looking at used minivans, but the "right" one hasn't come along yet, if we need one at all.

Just the regular stuff of life, decisions like everyone else has to make...yet since we took this leap of faith, it seems there are no small decisions anymore. We both feel the need to pray everything through now and know that we are Spirit-led before making a decision. It's a crazy way to live, but it's the only way that has brought us peace.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Life, 14 years later

young love :-)

So it's a few days overdue, but I didn't want to let our 14th anniversary go by without sending some love across the blog to the man who asked me to marry him. :-) Wow, what a lot the Lord has done in our lives since that day when two young, naive people made those vows to each other. When questioned about when divorce was "okay" with God, our Lord responded:

Matthew 19:5-6

New King James Version (NKJV)
5" and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?[a] So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.

I know we had no idea the implications of this truth back then. Honestly, had God not been the one who joined us together, we wouldn't have made it past year seven. He has been so good and faithful to us, giving us a second chance even when we tried to break apart what He joined. I am forever thankful to Gabe for having the faith to take that chance with me!

But you see, it isn't just about us or our love story, romantic as it is :-) (we were just 19 and met in Colorado one summer when I was a camp nurse and he was a young Air Force Academy cadet..) or our reunion story, though that's miraculous too. Marriage was created to glorify God, not God to glorify marriage. Just like friendship, siblings, parent-child, and every other relationship was created to reflect God and how He loves us, His children. Marriage was given to us specifically to reflect how Jesus loves His church, the people He died for.

Ephesians 5:31-32

New King James Version (NKJV)
31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”[a] 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Last night we started a Love&Respect class with some other couples and the leader had us read an article on marriage by John Piper. I was really struck by Piper's point that our marriages are to reflect the glory of God, and the more we look to Him and want to glorify Him in our relationship, the more His love will flow through us to each other. It becomes about Him instead of about us and our need for the other person to fulfill us. So we're certainly not there yet, but it's a good place to be striving towards!

For now though, we are blessed. Happy Anniversary, honey. Can't wait to see where the road ahead leads!

Grill warrior

the challengers