Monday, July 21, 2014

For When I Feel Behind

We leave just before the highest point of the heat wave last week. While the chickens are panting and the dog lays lazy on his side and sweat collects at the nape of my neck.

I had thought the mountains would provide relief - that the air would be cooler, but I was wrong.

The heat was a blanket that pressed in close even there.

The baby, she runs this year.  She runs everywhere and anywhere and the sweat drips off of her little nose too.

It didn't matter though, I would lift her up and place her in the Ergo and she and I, in the shade and light of the forest trails, we would walk.

I am behind in everything it feels like - everything that I had placed before me at the start of the new year. Memory verses, books to read, lessons to plan, posts to post...they all have seemed to slow and the heavy mantle of expectation that I've placed on myself pressed in even closer than the furnace of the air around me.

So as I would walk and she would nod off in the pack on my back I opened up my little booklet that holds the words of that Mountain Sermon - dipped way back into the days of February and tried to start up again, realizing with fresh awe that the very Words of Christ were now on my tongue.

They felt familiar, as they should I guess. From the time I was her size I have heard them in some form or another and I wouldn't be surprised if they were imprinted somehow on the grey matter of my brain.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill
cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14
But this time, the words didn't just thoughtlessly tumble out of my mouth because there was just one little word that stopped me still.

I mother four little ones, I am wife to one amazing man. I am a Canadian from wide open prairies who has fallen in love with the inner city and the people here, but there are times that I still feel though I am missing out on the details of the plan.

Three little letters though arrested my footsteps and I stood under towering cedars and received the truth of what He was giving.


The size of this word belies the riches hidden inside of it - and the Greek unfurls the beauty of it even more.

It speaks of things that quietly cover some spot - of a city that is situated on a hill.

As a metaphor, it is to be (by God's intent) set, destined, appointed.

In the center of His will, I am found in the details of His plans for me...for us. In the middle of the mundane and the chaos with time rushing by on either side, I can easily become distracted, convinced that the movement of the moments is what I'm missing, forgetting that His Hand has set me here in place.

Time will always rush by - to be honest, I may always feel one step behind.

But really, behind who?

Phantom expectations that I have allowed myself to be led astray by,

or resting quietly, trusting by faith in the One Who has placed me here, in this time - this space.

It is in Jesus that I live and move and have my being - in Him I can't be behind or missing out on what He has planned for me. There is a security in knowing that I have been purposefully placed, that His grace anchors me to Himself when it feels as though time is swirling out of of control.

The summer heat pressed in close in those days of last week, but it only served to press me in closer to Jesus and lifting a weight that I never needed to carry.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

I want to run this race, not because I'm trying to chase some illusive plan I'm convinced Jesus is withholding from me, but because I know this right now is His will and each step is bringing me closer to that moment when my eyes will see His beautiful face.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Independence Day...A letter from Tony

On a regular basis, Tony sends out a prayer letter to those who support us in this way and we felt it sums up our first 4th of July in the inner-city quite well.

Here it is in his words...

Hello fellow prayer partners, 

Last night was interesting.  

Fireworks were basically used as a shield to fire guns.  You would hear a loud bang or screecher firework followed by the rapid snapping of .22,  .45 and 9's. 

Once the fireworks at the Sun Dome had been expended and the neighborhood was empty, gun fire broke out up and down the street, all around us with no pretense or attempt to hide any of the intent. 

In some cases it was random firing but in other instances there were clearly firefights block to block with return fire back and forth using higher caliber weapons with rapid fire exchanges including AR 15's and other weapons I couldn't place from just the sounds. 

This continued all through the night until 6:30am and I wondered at one point whether they would run out of ammunition or alcohol first (blame it on the Goose). :)

   My family and I were perfectly safe.  What did concern me was the young man that dropped by around 9:30pm, clearly strapped and needing food and water.  We weren't sure if he was there for our protection or his own. 

He is a great kid that grew up on the eastside and has generational gang roots. 

   He tried to pass it off as just being funny but his questions were veined in serious notes, making sure we were safe and that we should probably arm ourselves, even though he'd, "let his homies know we weren't to be touched, but he can't assure us that his enemies felt the same."

I assured him Jesus was taking care of us. 

Kimberley and I and the kids sat with him on the front porch, feeding him and letting him talk for awhile until it was time for him to leave around 10:30pm. I sent the kids and Kimberley inside and explained to him that Jesus loves him and had a plan for his life. Before he left he asked me to pray for  protection for himself that, "he wouldn't get messed up in anything stupid tonight". I did that but also prayed that "Jesus would show himself to [him] tonight in a way that undeniable, and that he would clearly see Jesus." 

Please pray for us to heed The Spirit's leading and that Jesus would continue to bring these opportunities to witness to our front door. 

Send this to whoever would benefit from it or is interested in praying for our ministry.

Tony Baker
MH director

I've never been in a situation like this before, and yet even though I was overwhelmed, I was also covered in a peace that only Christ can give.

About three weekends before, I was given the opportunity to speak at a weekend camp and the verse that my co-speaker and I focused on was 2 Timothy 1:7:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control.

These were the words that were running through my head as we listened to the chaos outside our home.

Jesus is here with us, whether the streets are calm or in turmoil.  He has placed us here with a very specific purpose - to show His glory in the middle of what we don't always understand.

If you would like to be included in our prayer letters, you can contact me at wifeoftony{at}gmail(dot)com. We would love to have you stand beside us.