Wednesday, June 25, 2008
“Here’s a nice one. No bathroom though, that could be a problem. Still, it is close to work…”
“Look dear, this one has a view of the garden! And can you believe all those worms? It does need a coat of paint, maybe that’s why it’s so cheep!”
“What do you mean this is your house? I don’t see your name on it! Besides, we’ve been summering here for ages!”
I guess before moving to Spangle I didn't paid much attention to birds, I just thought they all lived in nests. But the birds really seem to enjoy the birdhouses on our trees. They snuggle in them through thunderstorms, perch on top of them and look deep in thought, and even seem to play games around them. Birds somehow know that these houses are provided for their use, and readily occupy them without thought of lodging fees. Our feathered friends do not seem the least bit bothered that they did not earn the right to use the birdhouse or pay their own way. They simply accept the gift.
It reminds me of another gift that was nailed to a tree. A gift that cannot be earned, but must simply be accepted. He is a refuge from the storms of life, but, oh so much more. He offers me a home for all eternity…a mansion really. And while many go through life believing the idea of heaven to be more of a decorative accessory than an actual reality, I am convinced that heaven is not like the solid birdhouses with fake doors painted on them. Jesus, nailed to a tree, opened the door to heaven for me.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. I Peter 2:24
Monday, June 23, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
When I was a teenager, young and invincible, my mother had me read a Dear Abby letter from a woman who was recently widowed. She wrote to tell how through 50 years of marriage she had nagged her husband about all sorts of things…leaving lights on, leaving shoes in the middle of the floor, leaving cupboard doors opened. Now that he was gone, she longed for those once annoying evidences of his presence. I don’t know that I pondered the column too deeply as an adolescent, but I have thought of it many times since. Sometimes I can find myself starting to huff when David leaves his jacket out or dresser drawers opened, and then that Dear Abby column comes to mind, and I try to change my attitude. I hang his jacket in the closet while thanking God for the joy I find in my lifelong companion. I close his dresser drawers, aware that the act is but a small chore compared with the delight I still feel in having him for my roommate. Every now and then, I still nag or sigh or huff a bit. And David mostly takes it all in stride, kind and gentle man that he is. But the other day, when I began a minor tirade about the books and papers strewn across the living room and spilling over to the dining room table, he looked at me sideways, with a gleam in his eye, and said, “You’ll miss these little messes when I’m gone!”
And he is right. And soon enough I will miss the Legos in my living room, too. In the meantime, I celebrate them. The evidence of the presence of my boys is more valuable to me than a spotless floor. Oh yeah, well, once a week we do scoop them all up so I can vacuum, and sometimes, like for Christmas and Thanksgiving, the boys actually put the Legos away in their rooms. And it is nice for a while. Like having company is nice, for a while. But when a few days have passed, and the Legos have found their way back down to the living room, I know that things are back to normal in my house, and I am content.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
People who know me and my fondness for Libby often ask what we will do with her when we move to France. The truth is, I really don't know. I haven't been able to bring myself to the point where I could ask that question yet. France is a very pet friendly country, we just aren't certain of what our living arrangement will be, and if it will be conducive to having a large dog. She is such a great dog, and we love her to bits.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Adding to the joy of our Sunday motorcycle tour was the new knowledge of that fact that when we move to France (which, again, won't be until we have raised 100% of our support) we will take much of our home furnishings with us. It turns out that shipping our belongings is more economical than having to replace them once we are there. When we heard the size of the shipping container that we will have, we realized that we will be able to fit pretty much everything we own, including the motorcycle. I guess that means, contrary to popular belief, you CAN take it with you!
Friday, June 13, 2008
Graham, however was witnessing a small spectacle on main street in Spangle, where the local bar, which changes names and owners about four times a year, was on fire. Here is the photo that Graham took with my phone, which might have been a helpful attachment to send to David, who called me in a panic believeing our kitchen bar to be on fire!David recovered quickly! Probably because he is used to receiving messages like that at work. I have sent e-mails that have caused similar anxiety in dear David. Here are just a few:
"Hi! I was just wondering, where's the plunger?"
"Hey, the boys need the hatchet, do you know where it is?"
"There is a wierd electrical smell coming from the living room. Any ideas what that might be?"
"Something fell off of the dishwasher, but I think I fixed it."
Don't you just LOVE e-mail?
Thursday, June 12, 2008
- God is who He says He is
- God can do what He says He can do
- I am who God says I am
- I can do all things through Christ
- God's Word is alive and active in me
These aren't just nice ideas, high hopes, or even goals that we can achieve. They don't become true if we close our eyes really tight and try with all of our hearts to believe them. They are true whether we believe them or not. But I bet life looks different when we actually live like we believe the truth of these words.
"I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" Mark 9:24b
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Sunday, June 8, 2008
In the meantime, we are being encouraged to make an exploratory trip to France as a family this coming October. During that trip we would meet with other GEM missionaries, visit places and churches where we might be posted, and probably most importantly, introduce our boys to France. The trip is expected to last 2-3 weeks, and it would be our children's first international experience. Just yesterday we had passport photos made for them at Costco. Little steps like those seem to be making this adventure more real in my mind.
I asked David when he thought it would finally sink in--not just the exploratory trip, but the whole "move to France and become missionaries" thing--and he said, "When I buy four one-way tickets to Paris!" Yikes! That will be weird!
Friday, June 6, 2008
Today, following a fairly extensive telephone interview, GEM appointed us to be missionaries to France. Typically GEM appoints missionaries during a Candidate Orientation, but because our orientation date was postponed until the fall, they offered to appoint us through this alternative method. We will still attend a Candidate Orientation later this year, but in the meantime we can begin the Partnership Development (read: fundraising) process. Lest you all have the sudden urge move and leave no forwarding address, please be assured that more than anything, we need your love, prayers, and emotional support. We know that our call to France will also require the generous financial support of individuals, families, and churches; however, we have faith that God will prompt those who are called to give. He is in charge, He is the provider, and He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. The next steps seem challenging, scary, and a little out of our comfort zone. I would be completely daunted by the tasks ahead were it not for that still small voice that I hear behind me saying "This is the way, walk in it."
The specific details of our assignment in France are still being formulated, but at this point it seems as if we are being led to commit initially to four years in France. I guess this gives a double meaning to our Four For France blog name--four Williamsons for four years! We will spend our first year in full time language school, and then we will probably be charged with helping to build up one or two individual churches in France so that those local congregations become passionate and effective at reaching their communities for Christ.
Now some facts about France!
- One of the world's most cultured and sophisticated nations, it nevertheless is spiritually barren. Intellectualism, rationalism, widespread involvement in the occult, individualism, and only a nodding acquaintance with Catholicism have proved to be barriers to presenting the Gospel to this needy, but hardened, country.
- There is profound ignorance of the Gospel. Many suburbs of Paris and other cities are without an established witness--that is to say, there are entire cities without even one Evangelical Christian congregation. The Catholic Church has still a strong cultural and spiritual influence, but the majority of the population has deserted the Church.
- There are also large numbers of unreached minorities in France, such as the Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian communities, Jews (France has the 4th largest Jewish community in the world, and the largest in Europe), North Africans (almost entirely Muslim), the Berbers, Black Africans, Indo-Chinese refugees, and Turkish, Iranian, and Afghan communities.
- Only 2% of the French people identify themselves as Evangelical Christians. These believers are scattered and split up among more than 120 Protestant denominations and nearly 3,000 congregations. There is little unity among Christians, and they suffer from spiritual bondages, fear of witnessing, indifference, marriage with unbelievers, and church divisions.
- Only 5% of the French people own a Bible.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. John 15:16
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
The boys found this little bird hobbling around the lilacs yesterday, and it acted as though it couldn't fly. We consulted with our local Audubon Society, worried that perhaps it had a broken wing. We learned several things about birds!
- The yellow speckled chest means that this is a baby robin.
- The bird is a fledgling, and must have fallen from the nest, because its wings are not developed enough to fly.
- Birds do not have a very strong sense of smell, so the mother will not reject the baby once touched by human hands.
- The best thing to do was put him back in the nest if we could find it, because the baby bird would still need its mom to feed it for another day or two.
- If we couldn't find the nest, we should put it under the tree where it was found because the mom will find her baby and feed him on the ground.
We were also told that the best and hardest thing to do was to walk away. We could not find the nest, and so we put the baby under the lilac, and left him. I guess I didn't worry much after that because, well, I know God promises to care even for the birds. He sure was a sweet little fellow!
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
So the other day when I was driving with Graham, a song by Caedmons Call came on the radio. I was belting out the words, “Dance on the water!”
Graham patiently shook his head and corrected me. “It’s ‘Hands of the Potter,' mom. ‘Hands of the Potter.’”
Believe it or not, for me that was pretty close.