Saturday, April 30, 2011

25 cents a minute...

Ric has been in Ecuador since Thursday evening. Their plane landed and they checked into their hotel and then we had the chance to skype. I have never skyped before, and oh my soul, that is seriously the coolest thing EVER!! He used his iPad and I sat in front of our desktop with my Garth Brooks looking headset on...we don't have a microphone on our desktop. We laughed...he told me about his trips...he caught a glimpse of a naked 3 year old running behind me...he talked with the kids. It was priceless! On Friday they were heading up the mountain to the town where they are staying for the duration of their trip. It was a four hour bus ride through some pretty rough terrain...but they got there.

He chatted with me on facebook last night for a few minutes from an Internet cafe, but we couldn't talk. I have been busy today...going to ball practice...doing chores...playing with kids. I had to drop my two bigs off with a friend for some time with their buddies and the littles and I headed to run a few errands. We were finishing up and sweet little Shelby told me she wanted to hit up the wasn't happy hour, but I took her anyway. We had just ordered our drinks when the call came said Unknown! My heart lept...could it be him?? I answered, and then I heard the sweetest was my man! He was calling from a phone place where they charge you 25 cents a minute.

He told me how things were going...that they really liked the perspective pastor...that they got to see Inca ruins that he described as "beautiful"..he asked how we all were...gave a shout out to the kids in the car...and then he had to go. I felt like a new woman...I heard his voice it made things seem so much better. Yes, I am a big baby when it comes to being away from my husband. I don't think there has been a day, since we met 11 years ago, that has gone by that I haven't talked to him...that I haven't heard his voice. This has been harder than I thought...and I feel so completely guilty for having such a hard time when I know wives are away from their husbands for months and months as their men fight in the war. There are newly widowed wives at my church that my heart has broken for...I know how much I miss my husband right now...I can't even fathom how much they are missing theirs. But I do. I do miss crazy.

I thought about how my heart lept when that call came I had a peace after I hung up, just because of four minutes on the phone. How I had been dying to talk to him all day...and then my gut felt like I had been punched. Sometimes, if I am being real, I don't anticipate hearing from God the way I did hearing from Ric. Sometimes I don't cling to every word of scripture I read like I did every word Ric spoke.  I sat in my kitchen...ashamed.   Not ashamed at my love for my excitement for the call or even the fact that I felt soo much better after talking to him.  My shame was in the mere fact that I don't treat God like that EVERY day.  I should have a peace when I am done talking to Him...I should anticipate, with excitement,  hearing from Him everyday...I should cling to every last word of scripture I read.  I had a little bit of a reality check sitting there in the Sonic drive up...and I hope my husband knows it was worth  25 cents a minute.  Thankful for that dollar for oh so many reasons....may God be honored in my life...may I love Him the way I should...may I adore Him...adore His word...adore hearing from Him!

Things are going great in Ecuador!  They have met with the perspective pastor...have met with their translator...they have seen the city where we will be planting the church...they will be preaching the next 3 days to the town.  Ric said they asked Lucas and Manuel if there was any way to get the word out that they will be having services...did they have a radio they could go on and tell them...their response was that word had been out...the town knew that they were coming...they would be there.  Would you pray tonight for our men as they preach to this town, Zhud (I hope that's right..I heard him trying to tell me, but I could barely hear him)...that the gospel would be so clear, regardless of the language barrier...and that God would change lives.  Thankful it's not up to our men or the translators...grateful it's all up to Him!

I will go to bed tonight...$1 poorer...but it was so worth the price for four minutes of my husbands voice and a grand wake up call!

Psalm 119:33-40
Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end.
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.
 Confirm to your servant your promise,
that you may be feared.
Turn away the reproach that I dread,
for your rules are good.
Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tornadoes and Suitcases...

This morning came to quickly, for more reasons than one. We were up half the night watching the news on the coverage of the storms that were sweeping across our state. We had the kids sleeping in our playroom so that they were accessible if we needed to take shelter. We watched in horror as the footage showed town after town that had been devastated by the storms. We didn't go to sleep until we had been given the all clear. We quietly carried the sleeping kids up to their beds and we layed down to catch a few winks before we had to get up again.

My alarm went off at 4:30 and I looked to my right and Ric was not there. I quietly got up, because Little Booger #4 was slumbering beside me, and went to see where he was. He was up...moving around, so I got the last few things I needed for him as he got ready to go. He showered...zipped his suitcase up and laid down the letters that he had spent time writing that morning in the wee hours. Letters to his four kids. All of them encouraged us to not trust the be good for Mom(except mine didn't say that:) watch the ball when they are hitting in their next know that Daddy loves them...and that Daddy is gone doing work for Jesus.  Letters that encouraged them through scripture...and letters they will never forget!

I hugged him...for not near long enough...and away he drove. My heart fell...the tears came...and I knew our lives would never be the same. Where is he going you ask? Ric left for Ecuador this morning with a team of three other men to plant a church in the mountains. He will spend the next 8 days getting to know the people there...talking to our perspective pastor...preaching...spreading the Gospel...probably getting far too many bug bites...learning...growing...being the hands and feet. I am so excited for him to get this grow in his faith as he experiences new things. I know there will be lots of stories...lots of pictures...lots of excitement, and I can't wait to experience it with him when he comes home!

I miss him already. My little girls eyes brimmed with tears as I read her her daddy's letter this morning...they are scared...nervous...and don't want daddy gone. I know that 8 days is nothing compared to some of the military wives whose husbands are gone for a I will try to take these next 8 days in stride...bathe this plant in my man from afar...and I will pray for the people of Ecuador!

I love you Ric...thank you for being willing to go to all the nations...praying for souls to be saved...for you to be strengthened. I can't wait to see it all God be the Glory!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


This past week has been a tough one at our church and in ministry. We have been grieving...heartbroken...and on our knees. Last Thursday we lost a faithful servant. Bro. Stephen was going about his normal day at work when he suddenly illness. My heart broke for his precious wife and their family.

This sweet man taught every one of my children in Sunday School. Two of them got to be in his class for two straight years. He loved my kids...they loved him. He connected with them, and they always felt special. I can remember dropping my kids off, screaming and crying, and he would gently scoop them up and calm them down. He was a special man...and that nursery hall will never be the same.

We took the kids to the funeral home the night of visitation. I was worried about how they would respond...nervous about what they would say...hoping they didn't act like a bunch of hooligans! Shelby, my sensitive one, sweetly asked Mrs. Barbara about what happened...she wanted the details...wanted to know when it long it had been. She had the sweetest, most sincere look on her face while she talked. Her little lip poked out...ready for those tears to come. She cried when I told her the news...and I love that Shelby cares for people. Charlie and Addie gently hugged her and let her know they were sorry.

Jesse was enamored with Bro. Stephen. Kept looking at him while he talked to Mrs. Barbara. He just turned 3 and doesn't understand death...he asked her why he wasn't talking...we explained that he wasn't there anymore...that he was in heaven. I told Jesse..."he's talking in heaven now...better yet, he is singing in heaven". Mrs. Barbara shook her head and said "he sure is". Bro. Stephen was a singer and sang in our choir for as long as I can remember. Jesse kept saying over and over again..."I don't hear him singing Mommy...I wanna hear him sing". I smiled thinking about that day when we will hear him sing again...and it made me ever so grateful for my salvation. Grateful for God choosing me...for my hope in heaven...for the cross...and for little boys that wanna hear a dear man sing in heaven.

We lost another giant this morning. Bro. Daryl had fought an infection for over a week now. His family has been vigilant, sitting by his bedside...bathing him in prayer. Our church has been on our knees praying for healing! He was finally healed this morning. Maybe not in the way that we anticipated, but healed none the less. He will no longer be in pain...he is with his Savior now...face to face! I can't imagine the morning he had! My heart breaks for his precious family...they are pillars in our church. Faithful people...faithful followers. His daughter was one of my first teenagers here and is now a friend of mine. His wife is a vital part of our youth ministry where she serves over our drama team. She has been my co-partner in the nursery for years. I always loved to sit and listen to this lady as we watched children run around. She would tell me stories about her life...lessons she has learned...taught me about love...and life and being a wife. What a testimony she has been to the Lord all these years.

While we sit here with grief enveloping our hearts...tears in our eyes...and prayers on our lips, I will thank God for these men's lives. For what they have taught me and blessed me with...and I will remember Jesse and singing in Heaven. This song makes me think of them...thanking God this morning for His grace!

There'll be no sorrow there, no more burdens to bear,
No more sickness, no pain, no more parting over there;
And forever I will be with the One who died for me,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.
What a day, glorious day that will be!

Isaiah 26:3,4
"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Blessed from a blowout...

We went to St. Simons Island last week for our kids spring break.  My in-laws have a condo down there and we are blessed to be able to go every year.  It is literally my favorite place on's where I feel the most relaxed...where I am rejuvenated.  We played in the sand...the waves...rode our bikes for miles...ate far too much ice cream and good food...and just enjoyed being a family.  It was a great week and I literally dreaded leaving this special place that I have dubbed my second home...even though it's my in-laws:)! 

We set out Saturday afternoon with the van loaded tired from a day of biking and the beach...and headed back to our home.  We were about 20 to 30 minutes into the drive when I noticed the car was bumping and not riding smooth.  I mentioned to Ric that I thought we might have a flat so we pulled over.  We looked at the wasn't flat but it had a huge bulge on the side of it and we knew the tire was separated....the third one to do this on this set of tires!  We knew we needed to find a tire shop so we got on the iPhone's and started searching.  We had two choices...go 14 miles to Walmart or 4 to a local place.  Ric went back and forth and then decided to go to the local place.  We had just started driving in that direction when it happened...the loudest boom I have heard and then grinding and the car jerking.  We had blown the tire out.  I screamed...Ric said "it's ok...I got it"...Jesse woke up...the kids asked what was going was a few very scary moments.

We  pulled over and checked out the damage.  I couldn't believe a tire could do that to a vehicle...but now I know.  We began the process of finding the spare...going through that process was insane.  They put it in the strangest of places and it's seriously a project to get it out.  Charlie is helping Ric...I'm all nervous thinking someone is gonna be texting and not paying attention and smash into us on the side of the road,  when James came along. 

James is a Georgian...through and through.  He drove a big truck...had country music playing in the background...and had a smile that spread for miles.  He asked if we needed help and Ric said that he had just about gotten the spare on so he offered to drive us and show us where the tire shop was.  He threw our tore up tire in the back of that big 'ol pick up and off we went.  We went to 3 places looking for somewhere open.  Each time we stopped Ric told James that we could find one...he didn't have to go out of his way.  He politely told Ric that he was in it to the end...he was gonna get us a tire!  He drove over 15 miles to get us to the Walmart...surely out of his way.  After he took Ric in and got things settled he came to my window.  I thanked him profusely for being so kind and stopping to help us...he kept telling us the whole time that that was what he was here for....and I believe it.  He then asked where Charlie was and went around to his side of the van.  He stuck his hand out and told Charlie it was nice to meet him...and then he shook his hand and said "get you and your brother and sisters something with this"...and then James walked away.  Charlie opened his hand and found a wadded up bill...and he opened it and said "he gave me $20 bucks"...I turned and said "what??" and then looked closer and saw that it was a 50 dollar bill. 

Of course I cried...because of this stranger's kindness...because of God's provision and protection...and for God using something like a blowout to bless me.  You see, I was irritated with the blowout...I wanted to be home...not stuck in some small town.  God showed me that sometimes our inconveniences can produce huge blessings...that there are good, Godly people out there...and that He is still in control of it all.  I will never forget that day...never forget James...never forget that sometimes blessings come in strange ways...even through a tire blowout!