Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Lord, give me one - Volume 1



Thursday morning, 2 weeks ago, I sit and I ask the Lord to give me my one.

Put someone in front of me that I can love like You, Lord.

Later that I day, I get it.

I receive a message from a friend in Moosonee asking if I could babysit a daughter of one of her fellow nurses for a few days.

We say yes!

The woman from Moosonee tells me that this could be a great opportunity to share the love of the Lord, I get even more excited!

So the woman and her little 2 year old come over for a visit on Saturday and we begin watching her early Sunday morning.

Right before the mom heads to work she says, “I just need to tell you that we have a lot of problems with her father, he can’t see her, I don’t think he’ll try to do anything, but if he does, call the cops.”

WHOA.

K, yeah, totally normal and used to this, have a good day at work!    ??? 

Ha.

I’ve always known that domestic violence and verbal abuse happen on the island, but I had never been in the midst of it. Until this day.

We take the sweet 2 year old to Church, and she escapes her Sunday school class mid service to run out and see Josh, who is preaching by the way, because she just missed “uncle” so much. She called him “Uncle” the entire time. Hilarious. And precious. Thank goodness kids escape Sunday school often in our church and people aren’t surprised to see 2 year olds running or riding bikes down the aisle in the middle of service. Oh Moose Factory. ANYWAY…

Later that afternoon I’m watching Little Mermaid with the little girl when I get a phone call from her mom.

“I just wanted to let you know that her father came to my work and harassed me and threatened me. His last words before he left were that he was going to search the entire island until he finds her.”

I feel sadness for the mom. 

She’s pained. 

She feels defenseless.

I assure her that we will keep her little girl safe, inside, and not to worry.

The time comes to drop her off at her house.

It is 7:45 and Josh is in the middle of preaching, so though a little nervous, I go alone.
I pull in front of the house, observant of my surroundings, and looking to see if anybody is watching, I don’t feel anybody.

I pull past the house a little bit to turn around, and I get STUCK. I mean completely, dug inches into the snow, stuck.

I had such a peace. I just got out of the car, got the 2 year old and the millions of bags that go along with a 2 year old and we slushed through the snow to get to the front porch.

I knocked. No answer. I rang the doorbell several times, no answer.

I start to feel a little more nervous because she should have been home by now.

We wait for 10 minutes on the front porch, but the later it was getting the colder it was getting so I decided to take the little girl, leaving behind 2 bags on the porch, back to the car to wait for her mom.

I started praying that the Lord would send someone to get me out from being stuck, not realizing then that that was all part of the Lord’s plan to protect me and this little girl.

I figure that eventually, Josh will realize everything isn’t okay and would come looking for me after church, so I’m still not in panic mode.

Only 2 minutes go by when I realize that I think I know the person that lives down the street. I don’t ever remember anyone telling me she lived there, I honestly don’t know how I knew, but the Lord led me to her door. 

I got the two year old and we once again, walked a little further through the snow, ankle deep, to this neighbor’s house. 

I ask her if I could use her phone to call the chapel, thinking service would be over. 

When I walk in her house, I see my sweet husband on the TV, and her with her bible out taking notes.

That brought joy to my heart in the midst of an uneasy situation.

I knew this woman was a Christian, but it still brought me joy.
 
I call the Hospital looking for her mom, because by now she should have been home over 20 minutes ago.

They said she left a while ago.

A minute later, I see a man walking down the road and I just had a feeling.

I asked the neighbor who that man was, and she said, “oh, that’s her father!!! I’ll just open the window and yell out to him!” She began opening the window, but thankfully before she could yell to him, I said, “no, no, no, no, no!”

She understood instantly. 

She actually understood all too well. 

Because this woman, she went through this too. She went through domestic violence for a long time.

I see the man walk back down the street, now away from the house.

5 minutes later, I finally see her mom walking down toward her house. 

I, as quietly as I could got her attention and asked her to come into her neighbors house who she hardly knew.

She looked upset.

She told me that her baby’s dad cussed her out at the end of the street and was threatening her.

She collapsed in my arms and I just held her and prayed for her as she sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.

I pray, Lord, let this ONE feel your LOVE.

I begin to feel overwhelmed thinking about how the Lord had just protected me and the little girl.

Had I not driven further to turn around, I would have just waited in the car right in front of the house, and her dad would have seen us instantly when he walked up.

He could have walked up when we were waiting on the porch for 10 minutes, but he didn’t.

He could have walked up when I was completely defenseless when we were walking to the neighbor’s house, but he didn’t.

The thought of him coming and ripping her from my arms horrified me, and I am so thankful that the Lord completely protected us and made the timing absolutely perfect so that we couldn’t be in harm’s way.

The mom, the neighbor and I all sit at the kitchen table and talk while we wait for Josh to come and get me out from being stuck.

The mom starts venting, and the Lord blows my mind again while the neighbor completely relates, and encourages. She REALLY knows, she REALLY relates, and she’s the neighbor who I chose to ask for help.

Only God.

The men come, they get me unstuck.

I ask the mom if they would like to spend the night at our house, and though she appreciates the offer, she wants to get home to pack so she can get out of Moose Factory ASAP.

When she had finally assured us that there was nothing else we could do, I go, balling my eyes out, out to the car.

I ask Joshua to bring the mom the rest of the little girl’s belongings, and the second he pulls the stuffed animal out of the car, the dad walks by, carrying the two bags I had left on the front porch.

He saw it and recognized it in a heartbeat.

“WHERE IS SHE?” He says angrily.

The dad put two and two together and starts walking toward the neighbor’s house.

Josh says, “You can’t go in there.” And very calmly but firmly lets the guy know that he is serious.

Josh tells me to lock myself in the car and I’m just hysterical, crying and praying that the Lord would protect mom and baby, praying that this situation could be healed, praying that He could do a miracle.

Finally, after 10 minutes of seeing the neighbor, who knows the baby’s dad, come out and talk and then seeing the dad respond, I realized that he wasn’t being violent and that it would be safe for me to walk through the men on the porch to go inside and comfort the mom and baby some more.

As I slip by I grab the two bags, knowing that the little girl needs those toys in the bag to calm and comfort her.

As I walk in the cops come.

We all get questioned.

The mom gets to explain her whole side of the story, as she has had to do before, and I stood close by making SURE that she was getting treated well.

The baby’s dad’s brother is on the same police force and in a place as small as Moose Factory, corruption is rampant, so I was close by to put my foot down if I needed to.

Thankfully, I didn’t need to. The man, who had just come back to the police force after being suspended for abusing his wife, was pretty nice with her, and finally after about an hour they escorted the dad away.

Josh said, “Too bad he saw the stuffed animal.”

And I thought, No, that was the Lord too!

The mom got to protect herself and her daughter, while safely and cozily in her neighbor’s home, with the biggest support system she had seen in years. 

She got to go home that night feeling a lot safer, knowing that the cops would lock him up if he committed one more act of harassment.

The mom said, “wow, we were so lucky.”

And I said, “it wasn’t luck, it was the Lord.”

We got to share a little with her that night.

Then again the next morning.

She and her daughter took off for her hometown just 2 days after this incident but I have been able to keep in touch with her and share a little more.

This woman is heavily into Native Spirituality and is definitely not a Christian.

But in just one night she got to be overwhelmed with the love of the Lord by not only Josh and me, but also by the neighbor. 

I couldn’t stop thanking the Lord for my one. 

I haven’t stopped praying for that ONE, praying that more seeds would be planted, praying that she would submit her life to Jesus, and love Him the way He loves her. Praying that this little girl would grow up to know and love the Lord. Praying that the Lord would protect her from the terrible things she’s had to witness at such a young age.

We even had an awesome opportunity to talk to the baby’s father, and hear his story of how he is Christian, but walked away from the Lord. 

He said he sometimes see’s Josh on TV, so again, we pray, and we believe.

Is this situation completely healed?

No.

Did we heal this woman’s heart?

No way.

We can’t heal anything.

HE is the Healer.

He is the giver of LIFE.

He just called us to love.

And so we did, and now we trust and we pray and we love some more.

{ My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. }
 Psalm 62:1-2

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Lord, give me ONE.



Hey y’all!
Happy Tuesday!

I’ve been in total reading mode these last few months and have loved being challenged by the books I’m reading.

I just finished up reading the book Kisses from Katie, by Katie Davis.

Have y’all heard of her?

She’s a 24 year old from right outside of Nashville who moved to Uganda after High School.

Since she has been there in 2008 she has adopted 14 children.

WHHATTTT?

She feeds the hungry, clothes the poor, and educates the uneducated.

Most importantly she shares of the love of Jesus with all the people that she comes in contact with in Uganda.

She opens up her home to complete strangers, bandages wounds of those hurting, spends hours bathing children, feeding children, and just being a mom. 

I highly recommend this book.

Here's a quick video of her ministry, SO AWESOME:


You know my favorite part of the book?

It encourages me to act RIGHT WHERE I AM.

After reading it I don’t feel the need to pick up and move to Uganda (though they do have a sponsorship program that I highly recommend donating to if you feel led that allows you to help provide for the many needs.)

I do however feel the need to love my neighbor right here in Moose Factory.

I feel the need to give ALL of myself to the Lord here in Moose Factory and to say YES to the Lord when He asks anything of me.

Something Katie talks about in the book is not getting overwhelmed by the multitudes, but to love ONE.
Wow, this has spoken to me so much over these last couple of weeks as I’ve had women over who have shared of their unfathomable baby daddy situations, as I’ve heard of some of my precious young girls doing drugs, as I see moms frantically trying to protect their children from their dangerous spouses, as I see marriages nearly coming to an end.

I get overwhelmed.

I feel like I can’t help everyone.

Then I realized…I probably can’t.

Though I may not be able to help everyone, I can help ONE.

And when I’ve helped that one I can help another ONE.

These ONE’s add up to 2 and 3 and on and on.

I can say YES when the Lord gives me ONE.

So that has been my prayer. 

I’ve been asking for my ONE.

And oh my, has the Lord answered that prayer.

Three wild things happened last week.

The Lord gave me my ONE, three different times.

I didn’t get overwhelmed, I just loved on the one in front of me, and I can’t even begin to tell you how beautiful it was.

The Lord walked through me every step of the way.

I’ll be sharing the stories of my “one” throughout this week.

I encourage y’all to love who the Lord puts in your paths this week!!!

I encourage you to pray for one and love that one.

<3
Kristen

 And here are a bunch of RANDOM and totally unrelated pictures to brighten your Tuesday!

{Driving across the river from Moosonee back to Moose Factory}

{ Josh, his mom and me went to visit his Poppo when we were in Philly. We got to experience Bingo with a lot of 80 year olds. It was amazing. I took a video that I find myself randomly watching. HILARIOUS. Bingo is SERIOUS.}




{sneaky sister in law before I chopped off 6 inches}

{Driving over 30 MPH for the first time in over a year. I was scurrred.}

{Loved the texture and color of these walls at the hair salon I went to in Doylestown, PA}

{silly sister bear. ever cool her.}

{About to head to my BFF's rehearsal and rehearsal dinner!}

{Georgia. In late March. All bundled up. SUPER lame.}

{Quinoa Burgers Josh loved them, I didn't so much. I'm super jealous of his quinoa liking taste buds.}

{My taste buds to like these however. People are crazily obsessed with Tim Horton's in these parts. These were brought to us from friends in Toronto who came up}

{Veggie chips and a cute water bottle from Porter Airlines. It's a Canadian Airline. It's amazing! They even have lounges in the airports with coffee and tons of drinks and snacks for their customers. Love it}

{Josh and his best buddy Zach! Him and his lady, Serlin, are such a blessing to us!}
Have a great day!!!

{Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’. There is no commandment greater than these.”}
Mark 12:30 & 31

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

west coast surprise

Happy Monday!

I wanted to share about one of the biggest surprises we had in store for my parents for their Anniversary weekend!

Months and months ago I began scheming with my sister about throwing a big party for our parent's for their 30th anniversary. It worked out that Josh and I would be in town near their 30th, so immediately after we decided to make it happen I sent an email to all family that lived out of town to give them as much of a heads up as possible, of course anticipating that many wouldn't be able to come all the way to Georgia!

Within a couple of weeks my grandma informed me that her, my Uncle Todd, and my Aunt Susan were going to make the trip from California! We were thrilled! We knew if the whole party turned out to be a flop (which it didn't!) that their presence alone would make up for it!

So it was top secret until someone slipped up...

{this little cutie patootie, aka, Uncle Todd}

Uncle Todd loves to call his nieces and nephews, and when he called the house one day, my mom answered, and they began chatting away.

He says to her, "I know a secret"
and she said, "what's that?"
He said, "Me, Susan and my mom are coming to your house?"
She said, "my house, when?"
and he said he didn't know.
then he said, March 29th.
(that part cracks me up, he would say IDK, when he really knows the exact date)

BUSTED. 

He said, don't tell Tommy (my dad, his brother).

Right when he got off the phone with my mom he called his sister, my Aunt Susan and said,
"I'm in hot water!"

HA. I love him.

So, the surprise was no longer a surprise for my mom, but my dad still had no idea, 

and could we really be mad at this face: 



No, no we couldn't.

And though my Uncle Todd said he was coming to our house, he never mentioned the party, my mom just assumed they were coming to surprise them for Easter, and because Josh and I would be in town.

She still had NO idea about the party!

So they came on the Thursday night before the party and my sister and I went to pick them up at the airport, 

when we got home, it was time to surprise my daddy, and I captured THIS on video:



It was PERFECT.

So grateful to surprise my dad, and that my whole family got to spend time with my grandma, aunt, and uncle!!! 

Since I've always lived away from my family, I think that causes me to cherish my time with them a little more, and these memories will forever be cherished!!!

Have a great day!

Kristen

{At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions' den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?" Daniel answered, "O king, live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king."}
Daniel 6:19-22
 

Thursday, 11 April 2013

it's been a while...

Hello sweet friends.
It has been a long time.

Joshua and I took almost a month long break and visited his hometown near Philly for a week and a half, and my hometown near Atlanta for the same amount of time.

It was fun, exciting, chaotic, refreshing, indulgent (FOOD), and wonderful, but not the LEAST bit relaxing!
When we finally got back to Moose Factory we both slept, me more than Joshua, A LOT. 

 This whole past month has been such a whirlwind!
We've felt encouraged and excited at times, and confused and hurt at other times.
Through all the emotions and situations though, the Lord has proven Himself (for the millionth time) FAITHFUL. 

I am so very sad to say that I lost my digital camera somewhere along the way, after shooting hundreds of pictures with intent to blog them, so I will have to just show what I have on my IPhone.



{The day we took off to fly home marked exactly 1 year of being in Moose Factory! It absolutely FLEW BY!}


{The first 3 mornings after we got there we had to be up WAY earlier than I normally get up. We met 2 of Josh's college buddies for breakfast in Lancaster the morning after we got there. Then on Sunday, Joshua preached all 3 sermons to the Junior High at Calvary Chapel Phila. Needless to say, going from our slow pace life in Moose Factory straight to that BUSYNESS I needed a pedi and some crochet time!!!}


{Joshua and I drove to NJ to meet my cousin and her 4 BABIES at the mall, and my Aunt Donna came with her too! It was SUCH a treat to see them and it was my first time meeting this sweet princess, Piper! She was an unbelievably sweet baby! People in Moose Factory always joke about how they "make" big babies here...they are SO right. Piper felt like a feather compared to babies who are younger than her back in Moose Factory}


{he always steals the show that guy (and melts my heart. :) )


{Finally, after way too long, I returned to my favorite city, New York City! It was a super short visit, but it was AMAZING! We met one of my long time friends, Laura, there for dinner and had an absolute blast, not to mention some of the best food I've ever had in my LIFE.}


{I have better pics on my camera..wahh wahh wahhhhh. But here is my sweetie pie and me before dinner walking through Times Square.}


{Back to Philly, we finally got our hands on some Wawa coffee. It was super delish}


{Joshua got a little treat while we were home. This was gifted to him by the Crosswalk Ministry at Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia. It has been such a blessing and great tool for him to prepare his sermons with. We're super grateful!}


{Anyone watch Diners Drive-in's and Dives? Joshua and I were SUPER excited to go to a restaurant that was on Triple D but it seemed like everyone we told had never watched it. LAME. haha, but I MUST say, Josh, his mom and I all agreed that these homemade ravioli's were not good at all. That's okay though, we ate enough good food on our trip to last us a lifetime!}


{like this.}


{I was honored to do this beautiful girls hair and make up for her SWEET 16!!! My sweet sister in law is growing into SUCH a beautiful young woman. We had SUCH a blast at her party! Joshua gave a beautiful speech that had many of us wiping away tears. We all adore her!}


 
 {Here's a shot of all the sibs! That's my sister in law Sarah, and her husband Maurice on the left, Abby in the middle with STRAIGHT hair now because homegirl went outside in the rain when I was begging her to hold an umbrella over her head (hair dresser probs!) and Joshua and me!}

I know I'm missing SO MANY golden pictures from our trip in Philly! I got see my great friends Cait and her husband Bill as well as spend time with all of Josh's buddies and some of their ladies, shout out SERLIN! :) We had a blast in Philly and I'm so grateful for all the support we are shown by all who know and love Josh and I so dearly. We are blessed!

 {On our 14 hour long drive to Georgia we made a quick pit stop in Cleveland, TN, which is where Joshua and I lived when we first got married and where I went to College. We had dinner with our good friends Kellie and Jason who pastor at Calvary Chapel Cleveland, I also got to go on a quick coffee date with my beautiful friend, Kayla, and even more quickly I ran by the softball field to give these 2 sweet girls a hug! We were in DZT together in college and I just love them so! }



{We made it home just in time for my dad's birthday! He's the best!}



 {I have been so excited to give my sweet baby brothers these hand made Moose Hide Moccasins with beaver fur for his birthday! He loved them!


{So good to my sister after a year! This is about how all of our family dinners look, laughing hysterically. It felt SO good to be home!}


{My beautiful best friend GOT MARRIED! Oh my goodness, I can't tell you how grateful I am that I was able to be there and be her Matron of Honor. It truly was an honor. She was the most stunning bride, as you can see, with a heart of gold! I love her so much and could NOT be happier for her and Logan!!!!!!!}


{And I was super happy to have the love of my life by my side all weekend!}


{I can't believe THIS is the only picture I have on my phone from this, BUT, we threw my parent's a SURPRISE 30th Anniversary Party!! Oh my lanta that was hard to keep a secret! I began to blog about it several times when I remembered that I can't do that! I should spend a whole post telling about the party and all the *lies* that went into it! ;) it got pretty funny! It was so much fun and they were SHOCKED!! We had family and friends represented from at least 7 States, including California, so it was just amazing!}


{ This is a half asleep shot of my parents and me after the party. we were all so exhausted from the week before, hosting family, and then the shock of it all! What a blast and memory filled weekend! I love my parents soooooo much!}


{Last October when we were in Toronto, I had this Smoked Mozz Pasta Salad from Whole Foods that I just couldn't get off my mind, so I finally got to make it for Easter Sunday lunch! So delicious! Can't wait to make it again!}


{Believe it or not this is what the weather was like the majority of the time in the States. Philly was cold and snowy, and it was actually WARMER in Moose Factory some days than it was in Kennesaw, Georgia. Preposterous!}


{Finally, the Saturday before we left we got to experience this! It was beautiful!!!}

And of course, with the beautiful weather I had to enjoy...

{this! and oh did I enjoy it!}

Atlanta was such a great time with friends and family! I am incredibly thankful that I got to see family that I didn't expect to see the whole 2 years I was in Moose Factory, even if I came to Atlanta for a visit! I was so thankful that my Grandma, Aunt Susan and Uncle Todd flew out from California for the party and to see Josh and me! What a blessing!

Oh and we were welcomed home to this...



a warm fire to accompany freezing weather!!! It is most definitely NOT spring in Moose Factory!

:)

I hope to keep y'all posted soon about all that the Lord has been doing and revealing to us!

 He is GREAT and we are excited!

<3 y'all!

Kristen

"Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abendnego, who has sent his angel and rescued his sercants! They trusted in him and defied the kind's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God."
{Daniel 3:28}
BOOM.