Thursday, October 31, 2013

Another Day in the Life of Kara

Hey, wow, it's been a long time.

Things have been crazy.

By crazy, of course I mean my every day ordinary life. So it's nothing to get worried about.

I guess we never take time enough to just sit down on the computer. Ok that's a lie. We never sit down long enough to mentally prepare ourselves to write a blog. That's better.

What is it about writing blogs that scares this family so much?

I don't know but all I do know is that it takes a lot of time. And time is precious. Because we only have 24 hours in a day. And only seven days a week. Did you know there are only 52 weeks in a year? Yeah. And it's November already. Yeesh.

So what's going on here... Hmmm.... Well, just the ordinary daily happenings. For me, it's quiet time with God and me.... and coffee. :) Then school @ 8 or 8:30. Break-then lunch- after that it depends on the week. Today I happen to be visiting my mentor. Hannah. (Hi Hannah!)

Hannah and Florence (sorry it's not the best pic)
I'm really grateful for this woman of the Lord. She has impacted me greatly, guided me from what guidance she can give me from the Holy Spirit, and prayed over me through some rough areas of my life.

Yeah- betcha didn't know that an MK's life is hard, huh? Well, it is. But thankfully God enables us to be able to step back for a little bit and view our life in a different perspective. Then we can see the big picture and know everything is not just what it seems, and everything is worth the cost- if the prize is Jesus Christ. I was just reading a little figurative comparison of our life to an embroidered cloth, that came from Corrie Ten Boom. She was saying something like, 'we almost always view our life from the side of the cloth that has all the knots and tangles in it, but the picture is so much more beautiful if we view it from the embroidered side, where the colorful picture comes to life.' Yes, in this life we can see the colors, we know that God is "stitching" all things together for His Glory, but unless we come to the realization that there's another perspective to be seen, we might never fully appreciate our life for what it is.

Anyway. These times with Hannah seem to strengthen me a little bit each time I go. It's good to talk to people and open up, because then you're not pressing everything inside that was meant to be shared. Thanks Mom and Dad for being there for me too.

Our Basketball Ebenezer family
(Top Row: John, Joel, Augustine, Irene, Johnny, Joshua, Joseph
Bottom Row: Devin, Me, Grace, Dad, Micah, Alice, Mom
If anyone has a burden to pray- you can pray for strength, peace and rest for me. I'm still adjusting to this new time in my life where I'm now sharing my home with five boys- four 'adopted' and one biological. It's still a great leap for me, and I'm now struggling with sharing my family which I hadn't been at the beginning of the year- and also trying to find some peace and rest in this now chaotic life of mine.

In Christ Alone,

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Surgery and Surgeries

Some have gotten used to surgeries happening regularly in their household but not me. A few weeks ago we had two of our boys in surgery in the same week. One was planned. The other was a surprise. They added to a very busy and emotionally intense season of our lives. 
In the middle of the week of surgeries I was feeling stress that I knew, as I looked ahead on the calendar, would not soon be over but rather heightened. God revealed that He was doing surgery on me: cutting out some of the supports I had leaned on rather than on Him. Like one of the surgeries, He was cutting out the excess in my life that I didn't need (according to Him) because that excess was putting pressure on nerves that brought pain and eventually could bring death to parts of me.
He showed me that though I should make a time of solitude, prayer and quiet reflection, Bible reading and meditation a regular and necessary habit of my life, it was my every day life that should be living these things. Can I call on my Heavenly Father to pick me up and hold me in times when "people" become too many and too much? Can I make prayer a habitual breathing throughout my day? Can I contemplate the actions and interactions I live throughout the day presenting all of them to God, my Father, for His perspective? Can I use memorization of God's Word as a way to carry His Word in my heart, ruminating on His Word throughout the day till it becomes part of me.
The biggest question I had in my heart and mind was whether I could rest even in a season like this. As I searched Scripture, the Bible told me I could. It seemed clear to me from Hebrews that rest had to do with obedience and it was very closely tied to Sabbath. Stress was there, lack of sleep and anxiety were also there, but rest came from unexpected places and even, at times, from places that I didn't like.

God's grace is amazing. In the midst of all the chaos of the season, at the height of the New Hope Uganda homecoming, elders and management were asked to come forward in the Sunday morning (afternoon by this time) worship service. People were invited to come forward if they wished to be blessed by their leaders. The estimate of people that we asked God to bless one by one was somewhere over 400. For about 4 hours we stood and blessed and I experienced Sabbath rest in the midst of the constant flow of people.

Bestowing God's blessing on children, staff and community people was one of the greatest blessings of my life. 

Joy was revealed as I looked in the eyes of those who came and saw a glimpse of the way Jesus sees them. The Great Physician had completed one of His many surgeries on me.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Tremors & Earthquakes

We were sitting around the dining room table, just finished sorting beans and all crickets and night sounds were suddenly silenced. A strange rhythmic squeaking began. Kim said, "What's that strange noise." and then the shaking began. "What's going on?" someone asked. My mind went back to days in Southern California when I experienced many earthquakes and I realized what was happening. Earthquake. "But what's that strange squeaking?" The water tower was swaying back and forth with a tank full of water on top putting stress on the metal.

We don't know what cracked or was broken during that 5.7 earthquake centered at Lake Albert 109 miles away but it surely shook us.

During our trip to Kobwin Children's Center God shook the earth for many. We took an art/drama team of five from New York City to the New Hope site of Kobwin in the northeast of Uganda. Some of these children were formerly in Kony's LRA army and most had grown with parents or guardians who had been deeply affected by the LRA. The staff, themselves, have stories of their own of pain and rejection.

While I took some time to listen to God about what He wanted for the week, I felt He was leading me to let Him do the work and not so closely direct everything. I didn't understand at the time but God made it clear. 

The staff grabbed ahold of the dramas we asked them to do and put their hearts into them. We gave them one word and asked them to come up with a 2 minute drama on that word. The words were abandonment, despair, redemption and hope. After their rehearsal we asked them how they are personally involved or maybe had distanced themselves from the drama.

The next day these staff led the children from the two family groups in 9 different dramas with 3 to 4 people each. The words were abandonment, confusion, pain, despair, hopelessness, redemption, joy, hope, and peace. While they were preparing their dramas the staff discussed with them whether they personally were affected or possibly identified with the word. Wow! They shared some deep confusion, pain, struggle and revelation of their circumstances and how God was meeting them there.

It was in the midst of that time I realized what God was showing me. I wanted to direct the times in the small groups, to make sure they were being done the way I thought they should be done. But I heard the Holy Spirit's prompting to let the staff learn and grow and to let the Holy Spirit direct them. We were all growing.

I also had to trust God on Sunday when I preached a sermon that I didn't have much time to prepare. Those 9 words lived out in Joseph's lives from abandonment/rejection by his brothers to despair and hopelessness in prison, forgotten, to hope and peace that his family was together and his bones would be taken back to Canaan after he died.

I had to praise and thank God that He did the work because many were affected deeply by the week, Kobwin staff, children, team and myself.

What made the blessing even more sweet was that my family was able to come with me and we loved to be together.

Our world was rocked, shaken and at times torn apart so that God could rebuild, restore and redeem. Praise God for His family.

Only by God's grace, Tim