Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Living Water in the Philippines!

“And Rehoboam son of Solomon… did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord.”  The words seemed to reach up to me and curl around my thoughts  last night before I drifted off  to sleep.  It is so easy for us to “do evil.”  What earned the son of Isreal’s wisest and most glorious ruler, Solomon, this epilogue?  The simple fact that he did not purpose to seek the Lord.  I think of my own days… chasing toddlers, doing dishes, planning meals, sweeping the floors again and again.  It is so easy to seek other things- like a nap! Or that good feeling when the house is clean and the aroma of a healthy dinner wafts through the door to greet my hubby.  Or the satisfaction of talking with a friend.  None of these are bad.  But it is so easy for daily living to crowd out the one thing that makes all the difference in enjoying everything else…  the one thing that determines if we finish well…  the one thing that will not happen unless we purpose in our hearts to make it so.

To seek the Lord.   To look for Him.  To hunt as for hidden treasure.

And when the package came in the mail today, I was reminded again about what is really important.  I gently tore open the envelope.  The dedication pictures for Makiah’s fourth well had arrived.  Pulling out the papers, my eyes fell on these words:

The well dedication was attended by 31 people representing almost every family- beneficiary (48 families will benefit from the clean water)… Pastor Rick Azares shared John 4:13-14, and then prayed and dedicated the well for the glory of God.  Through the well dedication, 25 villagers accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Pails and New Testaments Bibles were given to the family representatives.  Alongside the well dedication was a program for children where they sang, listened to bible stories, and received gifts…  21 children received Jesus Christ into their lives.”

And so it counts.  Her life I mean.  It counts again… 46 times to be exact.  And so does yours, if you partnered in the giving or praying to help build Makiah’s Wells.  And I am encouraged as I sit in my comfy living room not to slip into the mundane or the distractions of life lest I miss out on the good that can be done when we set our hearts on seeking the Lord.

One villager and mother of four said it better than I possibly can…

“I am so happy we are the beneficiaries of this project.  You have granted us physical water, but more important is that our hearts have been open to receiving spiritual water.  We were made to realize that it is Jesus, the Living Water, who gives us refreshing life.  To God be the glory.”

That is it… to God be the glory!

Only $1800 builds a well.  Donations to the Well Project can be made by mailing a check to:

Operation Blessing International
Attn: Christine Coughlin, CSB 322
977 Centerville Turnpike
Virginia Beach, VA 23463

*Mark your gift clearly on the check for Makiah King and it will be credited to her account.

The previous water source was 1.24 miles away.
The Village of Sitio Dawe, Barangay San Francisco, Concepcion in the Philippines

I am sitting here amazed at these pictures and I can't help but add one more picture of something AMAZING...  my first little nephew, who arrived one week ago!  Caleb Ryan, God has big plans for you my sweet little man!
My handsome nephew is here!  To God be the glory!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

All the Days of My Life

"I will dance for the King, all the days of my life..."  The music swirls around me during the morning worship service.  Memories reach in and wash over me.  Suddenly I am singing this song with her little legs wrapped around my waist and her blond head nestled into my shoulder... the weight of her arms tight around my neck.

Then a new picture fills my imagination.. her little arms in the air as she twirls on her tiptoes.  Tiny bare feet dancing gracefully with the song.  She is radiant with joy and pure delight shines in her eyes as laughter flows from her lips.  Blond curls swooshing about. 

I picture angels... commanding and majestic (forget chubby babies with wings- in scripture when people saw angels, they fell prostrate in fear!) gathered by the hundreds with booming voices ringing out the chorus.  Little children are swirling about their feet in total bliss.  Sounds that rival the delight of any Christmas morning break out with peals of laughter from the little ones mingled with the thunderous merriment of angelic praise.

And I imagine that she is dancing now as we sing.  That for an instant heaven and earth are joined in this place... connected by worship of The King.  Almost as if they are twirling about on a balcony overlooking our little congregation.  The bible says we are surrounded by a great crowd of witnesses you know... We who are still trapped by our flesh.  Who with eyes closed can see only in our heart's imagination what she can see with eyes wide open.

The song rings out "...all the days of my life."  And it's almost as if she is saying to me, "Mommy, that means forever!"  Not just the four short years that she was here. Not just the forty or eighty or however many I may linger... when we who call on His name go home to heaven, our real living begins!  Now we offer worship in faith with eyes closed and faces upturned, but then we will sing and dance in the very throne room of The King.

And I feel as if I was just giving her the very first lessons in worship.  How special that her Daddy and I had the privilege of introducing her to His Presence in our arms.  How special it will be when she takes me by the hand  and shows me the wonders of worship that I can now only imagine...

Click to hear a chorus "I Can See" written by my dear friend, Carmen Harrison, shortly after Makiah died...

"And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved..."  Joel 2:32 and Acts 2:21

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus..."  Hebrews 12:1

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Our House

I sit on the crisp white bed in Makiah's room for a long time thinking about it first.  Bouncing my eyes from the beautiful oil painting of a castle in the sky to the bright picture she painted of a house and then back to the shelf displaying her favorite things.  I thought we might sell our house and God would spare me from this moment, but it hasn't worked out that way.  Our family is growing and this baby will soon need a room.  So I sit on her bed contemplating what I am about to do.

I get a text.  It is from a friend far away.  She says I am on her heart and wants to know what I am doing.  Tears fill my eyes, and I think she must have a hidden camera in my house! She responds no... but God does.  She reminds me that He always fills in the gaps for us and that she is praying Jesus will wrap His arms  around me and that she wishes she lived close enough to help and hug me herself.  I am undone.  By the love of a Father sent through my friend.  Pushing my tears aside, I take a deep breath, grasp for strength, and plunge into the closet.  I have been sitting for an hour already and the girls will not nap forever.

Before Makiah died, she had gotten into the habit of saying that she wished our whole family (meaning grandparents and aunts and uncles) all lived in one big house.  I lost count how many times she said this that last summer.  Every time we said goodbye to a visiting relative she would exclaim her wish loudly with pouty lips and a pitiful expression!  After she died, her preschool teacher sent me all of her artwork.  Many of the pictures were of a big house and some included family members with labels (she had dictated to the teacher).  It became clear to me after she died that she wasn't just drawing a fantasy, but a shadow of something very real to come.  In fact more real than this wooden house with shutters that we shared here in this hot south Georgia field. 

A house where thieves do not break in and steal and moths or rust do not corrupt.....  A house where all our family can live close to each other.  A house that she would see before all the rest of us.   A house with enough rooms...

I finish the closet conversion.  All the baby's things are organized, and many of Makiah's tiny outfits hang ready to be worn by her little sister.  As I stare at the little clothes and blankets and a new pack of diapers, I am surprised at the little brook bubbling up inside me.  I think it is happiness.  Change is hard.  But the signs in front of me are of new life.  New life. 

And I know my friend must have really prayed for me.  And I think Makiah might be smiling to see her sister share her room.  And maybe she laughs because she already knows how beautiful the house is we will never sell... the one with plenty of rooms.

" But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;  for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."   Mathew 6:20-21

A collage of Makiah's art that still hangs in her room.