Saturday, November 29, 2008

Eyes that See

Twice within 2 days I was told that I was beautiful from someone other than my husband! Both times it about brought tears to my eyes.

You see, I realized in both incidents that neither one was seeing what I was really like on the outside but rather the compliment came from something they had seen in my heart. That to me, was the ultimate.

The first time it came from seeing me through a child's eyes.

I had Jake and Max come spend the night with us Thanksgiving eve. In the morning I had cocoa and cinnamon rolls waiting for them when they woke up. (Might as well give them that sugar-high first thing!) As I was cutting Max's into bite size pieces he simply said "Grandma, you re beautiful." Now he has told me that before but it can still melt my heart! I hadn't showered yet, no make-up on, and I was standing there in my favorite robe (and Warren would tell you it is not a very pretty robe)! There would be no question that the compliment had nothing to do with how I was looking that morning! But rather, I had spent time with him the evening before and now he was excited about the cinnamon roll in front of him and he hears his daddy tell his mama that all the time.....

The second time came through an e-mail.

I have been writing back and forth with a young lady from the slum in Rio "the City of God". She is a christian but has been going through some tough times dealing with some hard things in her past. I was asked by someone else if maybe I could share some things the Lord has done in my life in the areas of healing and forgiveness with her. It has been my pleasure. I have come to love this girl through e-mails as she grasps what it means to be fathered by the almighty God. She said she saw a picture of me and that I was beautiful. She told me what picture it was. One of Warren and I taken together for the church paper. It is not a good picture and anyone that has seen it would agree. I'm not just saying that because I scrutinize my own pictures. I have laughed with others over this particular one. It is BAD.

No, it really had very little to do with the picture she had seen. It may have something to do with the blond hair and (if she could even tell it) the blue eyes but I know the majority of the compliment was because of her last statement, "I am happy because I feel more free, with less fear and more love."

I am ending this week feeling more beautiful having been seen through these two sets of eyes.

My prayer is to see through eyes that can really see, too.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Song

Do you know what it feels like to be rich? I do.

I woke up to a rainy, dreary day. The wind was blowing and everything had the feeling of dampness although it was perfectly dry in the house. Warren hadn't slept well because there are big things looming thick in the near future and so much to do. I know that he has a lot on his mind. My schedule is busy for the day, good but busy. It was one of those days when you might want to go back to bed and sleep off life. But I didn't want to. I have a song of joy on my lips.

Twice within the last week I have been able to share my life story with people. The good, the bad, the ugly. I was reminded once again of all that God has done for me. Given me. Given us.

We are not money rich. We maybe should have been better savers, better investors, a little more thrifty and a little bit better at hoarding. Maybe we should have taken more chances. I don't know. I do know that I have much more than I ever thought I would have in this life. I have gotten to travel more and meet more kinds of people than I ever dreamed of. I don't know that I even dared to dream of such things. And now I get the privilege of living in another country. And I do mean privilege.

God spoke that clearly to me awhile back. He simply said "Sheri, it is a privilege that you get to go to Brazil. It is a privilege that you get to serve the Brazilian people". I don't ever want to forget that. Somehow I had fallen into the lie of thinking I was doing a good thing for God. That I had something to offer the people of Brazil. I don't. He could have chosen anyone. (Warrens theory is that He did. They just wouldn't go!) When I really think of it I cannot figure out why He would choose us. But I am blessed that He has.

So in sharing my story I realize as I look to the future that I will continue to look to the ONE who has provided all along. And has already given me more than I ever imagined.

I am very rich.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The greatest Need

"Sheri, is there anything going on in your life? I saw you here last week and all week long God has given me a picture of you and a word to pray for you. Is there something going on?"

This came from a woman from our church that I barely knew who visited one of our classes last week and then again today. She didn't know about Brazil. I briefly shared all that God was doing in my life and asked her to continue to pray. She said she would.

I was refreshed. I was excited. God had laid me on someones heart that I barely knew - to pray for me. How great is that? I was ecstatic!

We are so in need of prayer. A couple months ago God spoke to me that what we really needed and what we should really be in prayer for was not financial supporters but rather prayer supporters. People that would come along side of us and pray. Would you want to be one?

It's really no less of a calling....and we are so needy.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

In the Beginning - Part One

People have asked how we have found ourselves preparing to move to Brazil. How did it come to be? How did God speak to us about it?

What if we are wrong?

This is my story. Warrens would be somewhat different because, of course, he would have other details to add (and some he wouldn't share!) We both know when it began though...

In October of 2006 I went to our women's retreat. The retreat itself was great but what sticks out to me wasn't something said by any of the speakers but rather something I heard God speak directly to me. Little did I know that it would impact our lives so much. He told me I was to talk to Warren about having our satellite TV turned off.

No more TV.

I had no intention of doing that because I knew it would be hard for me. I love HGTV!!!!! God used Brett to break me,though, as he came home from a retreat the same day and had heard God say the same thing to him. Warren agreed that he had been feeling it for some time but thought I wouldn't be too happy about the idea :(

There we had it - a word from the Lord to us. What to do? There were tears (mine) and it took quite a lot of convincing to the satellite people that we really did want it off permanently but we did. I'm not going to lie- it was really hard the first few months but we persevered and it has been good. It wasn't that what we were watching on TV was bad but rather that we were watching mindlessly. It was our evening thing to do. We watched programs we liked and when they weren't on we watched whatever we could find that wasn't "bad".

So, with the TV off, I started reading again and e-mailing some of our missionaries. Warren and I began to spend more time in prayer together and talking about what we were learning from scripture. We began sharing our hearts with each other, dreams and fears. Out of that we began to ask God,"is there more you want to do with our lives? Is this where you want us, God?"

We were (are) happy in Corvallis. Most of our family lives here. Warren liked his job, we loved our church, we have wonderful friendships. We were content.

But something was starting to stir....

Monday, November 3, 2008

What Else Can a Person Do?

Maxwell has his own little language. And he is a talker. It is so fun to listen to him but sometimes a little frustrating as he tries to be understood and I try to understand.

They (Jake and Max) spent some time with me on Saturday while Josh was doing some work at the shop. We played with snakes and bugs, building caves for the creatures. Max had been talking quite a bit and most of the time, if he stays on the subject at hand, I can figure out what he is trying to say. But when he detours to another subject I'm in trouble. Thankfully, Jake can always fill me in.

Well, one time Jake was in the bathroom and Max was earnestly trying to tell me something. I would repeat what I thought I heard and he would repeat what he had said again only this time LOUDER and SLOWER. It went back and forth several times with Max not changing at all what he was saying but laughing at me for not understanding even though he was giving me the courtesy of making it a little louder and slower each time. I finally told him I was sorry but couldn't figure out what he was trying to say and that when Jake came back maybe he could interpret for me. Max was entirely dumbfounded that I couldn't figure it out.

How loud and how slow would he have to talk, anyway?!

It brought back memories of me in Brazil trying to communicate with them in English when they can only speak Portuguese. There is something about speaking slower and louder that, for some reason, I think might help them to understand. It doesn't.

I found acting it out works a lot better!

I hope I pick up Portuguese fast because I, like Max, love to talk.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Looking Ahead - For Once

If you have ever been involved in our holiday plans you know that we don't usually have any - until the last minute! That's right, we're one of those "oh, I guess Thanksgiving is at the end of this week. What should we do?" kind of people. Don't get me wrong, we love holidays we just don't plan for them ahead of time....

But not this year !

I have appointed myself head of the planning committee (and that's scary since I've always been the head of it and..) ! I've already actually invited people...It's a start anyway.

What are you're plans?

And let us not forget God, who has given us the best reason to give thanks. His Son. His provision.