global 6k

Go for a walk & change a child’s life forever {6k for Water}

Instead of cooking dinner right now, I get to curl up in my favorite chair, put my feet up, and share this post with you. See, a dear friend is generously bringing dinner to us tonight. She knew we had a hard few weeks, so she insisted on bringing us a delicious, homemade meal. Because I don’t have to cook dinner, I now have 47 free minutes 😉 to sit and share this with you.

Cooking dinner is such a small thing, and I’m grateful to do it. But imagine if you had to spend not just 47 minutes cooking dinner but HOURS each day, walking to fetch water that’s unsafe to drink. Now, busy moms have dinner to make and babies to attend to, so guess who ends up walking an average of 6 kilometers every single day carrying a 5-gallon bucket of dirty, contaminated water to bring back to his or her family?

Children. 

Six kilometers is the average distance that women and children walk, every single day, in order to fetch water that is unsafe to drink. I don’t even walk that far on a daily basis, for exercise, and these small children do it, usually barefoot, often through dangerous areas, carrying more than 40 pounds on the return trip.

But this week (3/22) is World Water Day & we have a fun and EASY way to provide clean water FOR LIFE for 500 children (or more) through the 6k for Water. I hope you will consider joining us, or contributing to this amazing opportunity.

Now hear me out, dear friends: I know there are so many great causes out there. I’m sure you are contributing to many of them. Here are some reason why this is one our family has chosen to focus our efforts on:

1. Water is life

I am all for any cause that alleviates suffering and extends Christ’s compassion to those in need. And specifically, Titus 3:14 tells us to devote ourselves to doing what is good, so as to help cases of urgent need.

Water is an urgent need. Without water, we die. And to make matters worse, when children drink contaminated water, they die. Waterborne illnesses are the world’s leading killer. More than 3.4 million people die every year of water-related diseases, making it the leading cause of death and disease in the world. Every single day, 1,000 children die of preventable water-related illnessesProviding access to clean water is one of the most urgent physical needs there is.

2. Ripple effect.

Because someone sacrificed her time to make me dinner, I now am able to sit down and write this, contributing to the greater good. In a much greater way, the gift of clean water gives a child much more than a cool drink–it gives her freedom from the slavery of water-fetching day in and day out. When a community has water, its children go to school. They can learn to read, write. They can learn skills to break the cycles of poverty.

And, the children are safe. One of the greatest tragedies of little girls gathering water, is that they are often walking through dangerous areas and often assaulted. One man said, the very best part of their community having water, was that there was no more rape. 

I can hardly type those words. I cannot fathom my own little 8-year-old angel having to walk some 4 miles every single day, through dangerous areas, vulnerable, lugging water back home, water that most likely will make her sick, that could possibly even be carrying a deadly disease. When I look at my little girl, I think of those millions of little girls, and would LOVE to help in whatever little way I can. Providing water is a way to prevent rape, abuse, and keep those little girls safe.

3. Living Water

We believe that humanity’s greatest need is Christ. These physical bodies will someday die, but every soul needs the love of God and the promise and hope of eternal life. So it is our conviction that we give through agencies that will explicitly share the truth of the gospel and the love of Christ with those they serve. Jesus said to the woman at the well,

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 6:13-14)

What I love about World Vision is their commitment to excellence and to the truth of the gospel. So, would you join us?

2017 6K for Water

May 6th, 2017: 9am

@ Clackamette Park, Oregon City

This family-friendly run/walk event is a fabulous opportunity to go for a walk and change a child’s life. For just $50 you can provide clean water FOR LIFE for a child (every dollar goes straight to water projects), and identify with them in a significant way by walking the length they walk each day. When you sign up, you get a unique bib with the picture of your child on it, and information about that child and his or her community.

We did this event last year, and I cannot say enough about how great it is. It is such a sweet opportunity to connect your heart and your family to another child, and make a real different in his or her life.

This year, they’ve expanded the regions where water projects are done, to include not only Africa but also India and Haiti. And, we are THRILLED that a local business has made us an amazing offer:

If we reach $12,500 fundraising as a team, they will MATCH us dollar for dollar. That means we have to reach that amount, but they will match it, and the sky’s the limit! We have an incredible opportunity provide clean water for 500 or more children, just through this fun and simple event.

So, will you join us? Here is the link for registration, don’t wait! You’ll get your bib in the mail soon and be ready to go. And invite your friends! It’s always more fun to do together.

And if you cannot attend personally, would you please consider contributing to our team? Every $50 gift provides clean water for one more child. 

ALL THE INFO IS HERE » werunOC.com

Quick link to sign-up or donate: http://lk.godrenews.us/OC6KforWater (click “Join our team” to join, or “Support” to give.)

Thank you so much for joining us in this great cause. I pray you are BLESSED for your generosity. 

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When you’re just so weak…

 

Last month, when we went through those 17 stressors all at once, I thought, “Oh good. There’s my break-down-and-cry session for the year. Let’s get back into our groove and start thriving again!”

But then. We were heading into a super full month ahead, so I braced myself for the busyness. The same day that I wrote that post, I found out I was pregnant. I’ll share more on that story later, why we were amazed and beyond thrilled, but suffice it to say the stressors all faded away in light of this new miracle. Yes, I was tired and nauseous, but it was worth it because it meant a little LIFE was growing inside my body.

But then, a week later, Heidi came down super sick with a high fever. I hoped it’d break quickly and she’d be better in the morning. She wasn’t. The next day she was sick. And the next. I had to leave for a retreat, and by then Jeff and Dutch were also coming down with it, so I reluctantly left them home and headed off to speak.

That night, I came down with it too. The whole retreat I felt so weak. I was also doing a fast with a family member to pray over a specific situation, so I had given up all caffeine for 40 days. Between no caffeine, being pregnant, being sick, and being away from home and not sleeping well, trying to have enough strength to speak to these dear women, I was at end of myself. I just kept reassuring myself that I’d be home soon, could rest and recover, and it’d all be better.

When I got home from the retreat, we were all four still sick. And then, that night, I miscarried.

In the middle of it, I felt so much peace. I knew God’s goodness, I was able to praise Him, trust Him, sing to Him. He spoke specific words of hope and encouragement to my soul, so although I cried most of the night, I was really ok.

But it isn’t usually the sudden blow of sadness that gets us, it’s the slow wearying effect of daily discouragement. That’s how I felt. The next day we were still sick. I kept up at my optimism, always believing the next day we’d be better. And then next day we were still sick. Heidi had hardly eaten anything in 10 days. Finally on Wednesday, I was feeling strong enough to get to Bible study, so I went.

Then, in the middle of study, I got a text that Heidi had a horrible allergic reaction to bubble bath, she was swelling up and breaking out in a rash over her whole body.

Seriously?!!

I went home, to find her face swollen, her lips sticking out, bulging, her tongue swollen, and a red puffy rash all over her body. While Jeff went for Benadryl, I sat up beside her bed, praying over her, hopeful the next day it’d be gone.

It wasn’t. It looked like chemical burns all over. It itched terribly, and no matter what we tried, we couldn’t seem to get it under control. The next day, it was slightly better but still there. And the next day, still there. This was day 12 of sickness, on top of the exhaustion, no caffeine, and miscarriage, and Jeff or I had commitments 7 nights in a row, and I was just. At. The. End.

By the time all the sickness and reactions ended, it was the day before I was supposed to speak at a conference, in a session for Pastor’s Wives. I so desperately wanted to give them a powerful, hope-filled message. I wanted to make the session worth their time. I wanted to encourage them.

But I had nothing. I had no special insights from the Scriptures. I had no clever 3-point sermon, no alliteration or outline or fill-in-the-blanks, I had NOTHING. And I still needed to pack for our week of travel and clean the house and do laundry and homeschool these kids and make a dozen arrangements, and all I could do was cry. I spent my last hour of “prep time” lying on my face before God, sobbing. No matter how hard I tried to pull myself together, I couldn’t stop crying.

And there, with my face on the floor and the tears and snot soaking the carpet, the words of Jesus came to me,

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”

There it was. Not only the message for my session and the message for my soul. I grabbed my Bible and began scouring 2 Corinthians, amazed to see how often Paul himself pours out his own list of laments, how often he was weak, hungry, weary, sleepless. How often he was at the end of himself. And yet over and over we see the reason for it:

That the power of God can be displayed.

I’m always praying for God’s power to be in display. But how often I tend to think that God’s power will be displayed through my power. I want God’s power to be displayed through my powerful preaching, or writing, or wisdom. I want God’s power to be displayed through health and strength, through exhilarating times of worship, through energizing church services, through successful endeavors.

That’s fine, but there’s no denying that more often than not, in the Scriptures, God’s power is displayed through our weakness. In fact, God’s power is made PERFECT (its very best display) through my weakness.

Of course I’m willing to be strong for the sake of Christ, but am I willing to be weak? Am I willing to be humbled? Am I willing to look small and unimpressive? Am I willing to pursue a path that purposefully puts my weakness on display?

The next day, in a packed room of pastor’s wives, I laid out my story of weakness. It wasn’t polished or pretty. Some might say it was pathetic, but then we opened up the Scriptures and let them preach. Oh and did they preach!!! They preached hope to us all—they told us that in our sorrow we are comforted so that we can comfort others (that’s ministry!). We saw that the treasure of the gospel is contained in weak and unimpressive jars of clay (that’s us!) to show that the power if His not ours. We saw that Paul was shipwrecked and beaten and hungry and exhausted, and that he was content with all that because it meant the power of God was put on display. And we saw that a messenger of Satan was even allowed to harass Paul, because when he was weak, then he was strong.

God met us in a powerful way, not because of my strength but because of His.

No one likes feeling weak, of course. But the gospel gives us something greater to live for than just our own feelings and fancies. We get to live for Christ. And the Scriptures promise us a reward that is far beyond anything we can possibly imagine, for those who choose the way of weakness for His sake.

Are you weak today, dear friend? Don’t lose hope. You are in the prime position to see God’s power perfected in your life. Your weakness is not a sign of God’s absence, it is an opportunity for His glory to be in display this very day.

Take courage, cling to Christ, for when you are weak, then you are strong.

{Thanks for reading.}

nature-day

Homeschool Nature Days {And the story of the Ark}

“Now I don’t have to die to go to heaven,” my son grinned. “It’s right here.”

We were walking along the trails zig-zagging through the wild countryside of the property we would soon call home. Towering trees, low-hanging limbs laden with moss, a pond and trickling creek, old-growth stumps — it was all so lush and green and vast — as far as the eye could see.

But even as spectacular as the scenery was, I couldn’t take my eyes off him. Seeing his wonder–rapture really–as he explored and discovered, head tilted back, gazing straight up, pointing here and there, “Mom, red-tailed hawks!”

I couldn’t believe this was where, Lord willing, our kids would grow up. … {Read the rest over at here Simple Homeschool! And if you’d like to read the story of this piece of property … it’s here:

The Ark pt. 1

The Ark pt. 2

The Ark pt. 3

The Ark pt. 4

Thanks for reading!

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::Save the Date:: July 25th

At a retreat last weekend, we were asked, “What’s one thing you’re looking forward to this year?” The girl I was sitting beside quietly confided that she was excited to welcome a precious baby into the world on July 26th. I gasped, thrilled for her, and then quietly confided that I too was excited to welcome a precious little something into the world just one day earlier…

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Of course, a book is nothing compared to a life, but writing a book does feel like giving birth — the mental and emotional investment involved are most certainly akin to carrying and birthing a child. Some of you know it has been a long, sometime tearful, journey. So, I’m happy to announce our “due date” — July 25th. 

Between now and then I’d love to gather a group of you, faithful blog readers who have journeyed along with me here in this place, who would like to participate in reading and sharing the life-giving, hope-filled, Jesus-saturated truth of Sacred Mundane. I’d be honored to share a copy with you, and just ask that if it blesses you, you share the love with others. 100% of my proceeds will go directly to benefit women and children in need through World Vision; I want women all over the world to be blessed by both the message and the money from this project. I’d love if you would consider joining me.

If so, drop me a quick contact here, and I’ll be in touch. Thanks so much, faithful blog readers. You are a gift to me daily–your kindness and camaraderie blesses my soul.

Thanks for reading.