Generations of Blessing
“One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of Your majesty…” Psalm 145:4-5
This Psalm was on my heart as I prepared to pray a blessing at my brother Jared’s wedding–a joyful celebration of grace!
In preparation for the blessing, I gathered Bibles from my Grandpa Bell and my Grandpa Doden as well as my new sister-in-law’s grandparents, as both sides have a rich heritage of faith in Jesus. This stack of our grandparents’ Bibles sat on a chair in the middle of my parents and Whitney’s parents during the wedding.
As I blessed Jared and Whitney and faced that stack of Bibles, I saw in it a beautiful picture of God’s faithfulness. He promised that He will show love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands, and He is faithful to His promises. In the midst of battles and struggles of our different family members, this is a promise that we claim and remind Jesus of often as we pray together on our Tuesday night family-wide prayer call.
That picture also brought such gratefulness in my heart for the faithfulness of our grandparents and parents who have sought the Lord and talked to us about their journey with Him.
I have the honor and privilege of investing in the same way with children coming behind me, some within my family and some within the broader family of Christ. How I pray that these kids will know and testify for themselves that Jesus is GOOD, and that He is big enough to do ANYTHING!
That’s what I believe and am talking to them about these days, even in the midst of my own battle for faith sometimes!!
Believing Him for a thousand generations…
Sometimes I just need a reminder…a reminder that He is present…a reminder that He never leaves me or forsakes me…a reminder that He is good and that His love endures forever.
Last week was one of those weeks, and He sent me several reminders–some with more “drama” than others.
After getting texts from friends one morning with pictures of a rainbow, this scene greeted me as I walked out of our ladies’ Bible study that night. I actually gasped when I saw it. The picture doesn’t begin to capture the full beauty of that sky. I called back to the Bible study girls to “come out here fast” as He was showing off and I didn’t want them to miss it!
We all stood there in awe for 5 or 10 minutes as we watched Him paint…paint His love, His faithfulness and His goodness across the sky!
That may sound cheesy or romantic to some, but I take these gifts personally because I think He gives them to me personally…if/when I have eyes to see.
He loves me, and He tells me to “proclaim His love in the morning, and His faithfulness at night.”
The bookends of that day–a rainbow in the morning and the glorious sunset at night–reminded me of His love for me in the “dark”…and of my own need to proclaim what I know to be true in my head though sometimes need a reminder of for my heart.
“You are good and your love endures forever!”
The Death of Heroes…Elizabeth Elliot
Elizabeth Elliot…I never met her, but she deeply impacted my life and slowly became one of my heroes.
I started reading her books while in the Philippines on a Teen Missions trip in high school–Passion and Purity was my first read. I then moved on to In the Shadow of the Almighty and These Strange Ashes, among others, in college and throughout my 20’s. These books marked me.
I have a shelf of books that are worth rereading no matter what season of life I am in… books that have touched me deeply once, and most likely will do so again with a re-reading. Several books on that shelf are written by Elizabeth Elliot.
She went home to be with Jesus last week. Her passionate pursuit of Jesus and her unwavering faith were and still will be a source of life, nourishment and encouragement in my own journey. She walked His mysteries of suffering, grief, work that went up in flames for seemingly no purpose and unfulfilled longings and desires, and yet she stood firm…in faith, in hope and in love of Christ.
She’s a hero of faith for me. Heroes are rare, and I celebrate her life, as I know our Father does too. She finished well…fighting the fight and keeping the faith.
Elizabeth Elliot is human, just like the rest of us, so, though I didn’t get to see them firsthand, I’m sure there were areas of failure and weakness in her. We all have them. Even with those, she showed me parts of Jesus and His character as she journeyed.
I desire, in and through my own weaknesses, to reflect the same Jesus that lived and breathed in Elizabeth Elliot!
Experience Africa 2015–a family reunion…
A family reunion…that was the phrase used to describe the essence of our time together in South Africa on Experience Africa 2015.
If you had been eavesdropping, you would have heard laughter and tears around the meal tables, sharing of life experiences across generations, speaking of truth into each others lives/situations, the telling of some great romance stories, and the sharing of wisdom in business and ministry.
Twelve people of all different ages and countries…they had never met before, but they share a rich bond of faith in Jesus and similar places of life in business and ministry. Together we experienced physical and spiritual adventures for 11 days in an unbelievably beautiful country.
It was delightful and refreshing in every way.
We spent time on the breathtaking coastline of Capetown and the surrounding areas in the beautiful southern region of South Africa. We hiked in a rain forest, walked on top of Table mountain overlooking the tip of Africa, hiked sand dunes in the early morning, experienced a South African wine tasting, strolled the coastline, experienced a true South Africa brai, feasted like kings and queens, and received a ministry overview of Africa.
Josh Patty led us in studying and experiencing how to hear and discern God’s voice in the noise of life during our retreat time together. Through the teaching and discussions we were challenged, encouraged and equipped for our different places of business and ministry.
After Capetown, we moved north for our safari in the African bush. What an incredible worship experience seeing God’s creatures great and small! There was really not an animal that we wanted to see that we didn’t get to see. Even our guides were amazed. What a gift! The hours we spent together in the open air vehicles with our guide, driver and each other was full of joy, laughter and amazement. During our safari time, we also were given a fascinating economic overview of Africa, sparking some good discussion.
The staff in both locations where we stayed blessed us and were blessed by us in very significant ways. Several times members of the staff approached me and asked, “Who are these people? We have never had a group like this before.” I think they saw Jesus in us. We got to pray for some of them toward the end of our time in ways that I pray will impact them forever.
After the trip finished, one of our trip participants told me, “I actually cried when we left each other at the airport. I knew we would have a good time, but I didn’t expect to make life-long friends.” A portion of this South African “family” informed me that they are having a reunion this summer, and though I am going to miss it due to travel, I love watching these relationships continue.
It was a sweet and blessed family reunion in South Africa where we all walked away richer…in relationships, in refreshment, in kingdom work, and in our walk with Jesus. I’m so very grateful.