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.

A Year in Pictures [2013]

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Discovered a pregnancy [Jan. 11]

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Sent sweet friends to India [Jan. 15]

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Had a birthday party for a very special one year old [February 21]

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“Helped” friends pack for a move to Thailand [March ?]

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Celebrated 3 years of marriage [Apr. 10]Image

Got in a car accident [Apr. 11]

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Got family pictures taken [May 10]

ImageHelped host a baby shower [May 11]

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Experienced a loss [Ezra Coleman May 15]

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Held a memorial service [May 17]

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Went to India [June 10-21]

ImageWelcomed Jo’s cousin Atlas [June 22]

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Paul served as guest speaker at Salt Run Bible Camp [July 4-8]

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Decorated a headstone [August 15]

ImageHad another birthday party for this handsome man [Oct. 10]

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Celebrated Thanksgiving in Ohio, and this is the only documentation [Nov. 28]

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Jo got stitches [Dec. 6]

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Had a wonderful Christmas with the whole fam [Dec. 25]

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Went on a special Christmas date [Dec. 26]

It’s amazing to look back on the year and see all that the Lord has done in our lives. He has been good and giving through it all, and we praise Him for His blessings. We look forward to how He will work in our lives and provide for our needs as we seek to serve Him in the New Year.

God bless,

The Taubes

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Choosing Thankfulness

Wow, looks like me and my friend Kelli were thinking the same thing today–even shared one of the same verses! I didn’t see hers until my draft was finished. Anyway.She says it much better than me here

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Thanksgiving, for me, this year is totally different than any other turkey day I have celebrated previously. Prior to this year, I had never experienced any truly HARD circumstances in my life. God had been incredibly gracious to not have allowed me to see financial hardship, death, health problems, or any kind of trauma in my bubble-wrapped life. It was easy to give thanks of a truly blessed, whole heart.

But this past year, all of that changed. Deputation rocked my scheduled, secured world. A car accident shook it to its core, and the loss of our second child then shattered what was left. After the loss, health issues remain along with a plethora of questions that won’t be answered this side of heaven. How do I give thanks from a burdened, broken heart?

In my Bible reading, I have been studying much about the life of the apostle Paul. This missionary was no stranger to hardship. In fact, it was much more a part of his lifestyle than ease was to mine. He was beaten, tortured, imprisoned, and left to die on several occasions. Yet, he CHOSE to be thankful in the midst of these unthinkable circumstances. He said, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

I would much rather if that verse had said, “In most things give thanks.” That would be much easier to swallow, but my God has a different, more perfect will for my life. And He wants me to give thanks, because He knows, in doing so, I have chosen the better. Is it the harder option? Absolutely! And I don’t quite see the fruit of this choice in its full extent, but I trust the Lord and His perfect will for my life.

This past year, more than ever, I have had to CHOOSE to be thankful. Naturally, it hasn’t come naturally in the midst of these tough circumstances. It hasn’t come in between waves of grief, it hasn’t come with the persistent back pain, and it hasn’t come without any prodding on my part. I have had to cultivate a heart of thankfulness. But as I prompted it out, it began to grow on its own, watered by the word and nourished by the light of the gospel.

This Thanksgiving, I will sit around the table with my family who are so precious to me. I will squeeze the sweet little babies that fill my empty arms. I will give thanks in everything. Or, at least, I will try!

Because with every day of life, God has given me a gift I don’t deserve. Beyond that, He has given me so much, done so much in my life, and filled my world with light and hope. I’m so thankful to be a child of the King, and I feel like I need a whole other blog to expound upon all the wonderful blessings for which I can give thanks to my loving Father.

God is so good!