The Time I Feared for My Life

I have feared for my life, even though we are set up for comfort and safety. We live in a gated community, we have a car to navigate the crazy traffic, and even the church we attend is stationed between two police headquarters.

But natural disasters don’t care who I am or where I live or how safe I think I need to feel to stay. On April 25, I had no concept of how critical were the events unfolding before me , but from the erupting screams, I knew it wasn’t good. I confess that, in times of stress, I have an involuntary impulse to laugh. While the building violently shook, I LAUGHED as someone slipped on a puddle of water left by a fallen jug. It wasn’t comical, and I was concerned for their wellness, but I LAUGHED.

After damages were accessed, homes (including mine) condemned, and death toll tallied, I wasn’t laughing anymore. The sobering reality of thousands of people in my city beginning their eternities was more than I could comprehend. I was heartbroken for this country, motivated to work harder than ever to assist my husband in reaching it with the gospel. But that’s not what I was thinking when the second major earthquake came to wreak its particular havoc.

I found myself studying language in the one building I said I would NOT want to be in if another earthquake rocked the valley. At first, we did as we had during subsequent aftershocks. We sat stiffened, eyebrows raised, waiting for it to pass. It only got stronger. Gathering in the hall, we heard the prayers of terrified Hindus that we knew fell on deaf ears. I stood behind my husband, clutching his chest, undoubtedly leaving claw marks over the place that holds his now pounding heart. I buried my face in his back, holding my breath until the floor resigned to a sway.

I sighed in relief, thankful the Lord heard the prayers I couldn’t utter. This time, I knew, that if the death toll grew, it could have had my name on it. Because of Christ, I was ready, which could not be said for the those with whom I huddled.

Have you ever feared for your life in a scary situation such as this?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

Living in a Season of Storms

I have found that there isn’t always a calm before the storm. Some storms rage, knocking us off our feet, destroying everything we have worked to accomplish. Others are quiet and steady altering or otherwise delaying plans we have made. Living in a season of storms demands a faith I never thought I would need and could never muster on my own. In these times, the Lord provides a peace that truly shames worldly wisdom.

Visa Denial.
Change of field.
Culture shock.
Earthquakes.
Loss of home.
Language discouragement.
Landslide.
A scary ER trip.
Country-wide shortages of essential supplies.

And all in 9 months! It’s only by God’s grace we’ve made it through all of this with our sanity somewhat intact. It’s not that we have experienced anything majorly tragic, (and, oh, how I thank God for that!) but even the seemingly endless trickling of trial that just won’t subside takes its toll day after day. Sometimes, I find myself longing for a more uneventful existence, but I know that among the seated and satisfied is not where the Lord does His great work! Keeping that in mind from one storm to the next is the hard part. I am praying for calm, but preparing for a storm. Looking back, I am comforted seeing how He has provided all I have needed to weather each storm, and it is with this knowledge I can persevere with the work He has given me to do. And not only to carry on but to find joy, to see the Light as I struggle to keep my head above water, and, perhaps, help others see It too as they search for something…anything…to keep them afloat.

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Have you experienced a similar season of storms in your life?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

30 Day Challenge: Introduction

I will be writing one blog post a day during the month of November. Since arriving here in Kathmandu, Nepal, I have experienced and learned so much. For 30 days, I will be sharing these experiences, some life-changing, others not so much, with you. Each post will begin with one of the following:

  • I have found…
  • I have feared…
  • I have failed…

I invite you to see through my eyes the life I never dreamed I’d have.

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Supposed to be in India?

I keep catching myself saying things that include some form of the phrase, “We are supposed to be in India right now.”

  • “It’s -6 degrees today. This stinks. It’s 75 in India, and we are supposed to be there right now!”
  • “Great turn out at Jim & Autumn’s church in Delhi? That’s AWESOME, but ugh…we are supposed to be there!”
  • “It’s Valentine’s day, but your gift is packed. We were supposed to be in India today.”
  • “What am I going to wear to church? I’m supposed to be in India right now wearing my salwar kameez.”

Just because I desire to be in India and I supposed that at this point I would be, for reasons unknown, I’m not supposed to be there right now. Not really, or else I would be. God knows where I am supposed to be right now, and that’s where I am. He knows it’s -6 degrees, and he knows I pretty much feel homeless right now (thankfully that’s not totally true in this weather!).

Though I don’t necessarily know where I will be 2 months or 2 years from now, He does. And wherever I am, He will be there too. When I follow the Lord, I can trust that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.

With love from the frozen tundra (Middletown, OH),
Amber

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Toddler Taught Truth

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My daughter cracks me up. Especially when she throws tantrums. I really don’t want to encourage the behavior, but seriously, it’s hard not to laugh sometimes! Am I the world’s worst mom or can somebody relate to this predicament?

I’ve figured out that I can’t give Jo something (namely a piece of candy or food) if she can’t have ALL of it. I have to hand her the entire bag of fruit snacks instead of just one at a time. I have to give her a banana whole, not chopped up. I have to hide the jumbo bag of dum-dums in order to hand her one, and I have to show her my empty pockets. I’m not kidding.

I’ve seen my poor little girl sobbing…WITH A SUCKER IN HER MOUTH. I can’t even understand how she could possibly cry with a pink lemonade treat on her tongue. Seriously, what could be the problem? Didn’t I just send her to “toddler heaven?”

Her dissatisfaction with what I have seemingly withheld from her makes her incapable of enjoying the bit she holds in her hand. What she doesn’t know is that a lot of moms don’t let their babies have candy (and those moms probably aren’t in a car with their child for several hours a week!). I don’t HAVE to give her candy at all, but still, she acts like she has been on the receiving end of some major injustice by her mother not allowing her to rot her teeth out of her head.

And it’s funny how the Lord uses these moments to teach me. A red-faced nearly-two-year-old screaming with blue lips (from the treat- not a lack of oxygen!)  and a sucker in hand. And I think it’s ridiculous but it’s not far from home.

We were a stocking short on the mantle at Christmas, so I felt lonely when surrounded by a loving family. I long for my baby boy and fail to cherish the moments with my precious little princess basking in what an incredible miracle her sweet little life truly is. I think about each holiday and birthday being the last in the States, and I am tempted to sulk instead of take in every moment. But at the same time I long to be in India, serving where God has called our family, and I don’t make the most of the ministry God has given me stateside. And it’s nothing but ridiculous. I am robbing myself of the joy of the blessings God has given me because I’d rather focus on what I feel like has been withheld from me or even taken away from me.

I don’t indulge my toddler with everything she wants or thinks she needs because I love her. The decisions I make are for her own benefit. All us parents are in agreement here (except for maybe the lady who said, “Shame on you” for giving Jo yogurt while her father and I ate ice cream). This makes perfect sense to us.

Yet, when the Father in heaven withholds or takes away, we question Him. Does He really know what He’s doing? Does He really have it all under control? Why would He not bless me in the way He blesses others, and why would He take something that is precious to me away?

Because while it may not please me, it benefits me. And you know what’s the greatest thing about that? He actually KNOWS what’s best for me, without a doubt, because He created me. He knows my inside and out and has been conscious of every moment of my life from the moment of my conception (what?!?).

And let’s be honest, I really have NO clue what’s best for Jo. I read blogs and books, I pin and ponder, I ask advice and worry around the clock. But I don’t really know what’s best for her. But, oh, I sure do try.

But he knows. And he provides, and He doesn’t have to try. Blessings and benefits flow from His wounded hands. He is incapable of producing anything but righteousness. Rightness. And everything He allows in my life is for my benefit whether I can wrap my head around that or not.

Maybe it’s the blessing of being used for His kingdom or just the sake of knowing Him more intimately. But isn’t that the greatest gift of all?

That’s all I need. You can have my blue lollipop and day of the week. Just don’t take Jo’s. Trust me on that one.