Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless HIS HOLY NAME.

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Poem for her Son-in-law

My mother writes the sweetest poems for each of her children and their spouses, 
and for each of her grandchildren on their birthdays.  
The one she wrote today for my husband's birthday was especially sweet...indeed, it made me cry.



This one she wrote in Spanish.  I'm going to share it exactly as she wrote it.

ANDRÉS

Había una vez un niño
Que nació lejos de aquí
Pero Dios en Su providencia,
Quiso traerlo junto a mí.

Ese niño crecía y crecía,
Y quería estudiar.
Dios lo trajo a San Cristóbal
Para que se pudiera preparar.

Su cubeta de agua caliente
Nunca le faltaba cada día
Para mí no era una carga
Porque la responsabilidad era mía.



Era un privilegio para mí cuidarlo
En la ausencia de su Madre
Y el Doctor Tomás
Lo disciplinaba como si fuera su padre.


¿Fue el destino lo que trajo ese joven
Un domingo en la tarde?
Tal vez sí, pero creo que fue Dios
Quien quiso que yo tuviera una parte.


En la vida de Andrés
Su suegra llegúe a ser.
Cada mañana oro por él,
"Señor, cuídalo por doquier."




Espero que el siguiente año
sea el mejor que has tenido.
Que el Señor te guarde y te cuide,
Mientras celebramos otro año cumplido.

For a more detailed description of my mother's role in my husband's life, please click here (written last year on my husband's birthday).


Happy Birthday, My Love.  May we spend many more happy days together.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

By My Side

I grew up with you in the home.  I watched you keep a clean house.  I watched you prepare delicious and nutritious meals.  I watched you handle wisely the money Dad gave to you, and watched you organize your shopping so we always had plenty.  I watched you do the mending in the afternoons...sitting in the rocking chair next to the window in your room.



You were there when the little neighbor boy was mean to me.  You were there to read to us after we were all in our pajamas.  You were there to brush our hair into little pig-tails every morning.  You were there to play the piano and sing with us.  You were there when neighbors popped in for a visit, and you were such a gracious hostess.  You were there to teach us hospitality.

You were there to faithfully teach us the Scriptures...around the breakfast table every morning you taught us Bible memory...you helped us memorize hundreds of Scriptures and dozens of passages. How thankful I am that you were there...you took time for the important things in our lives.



I watched you every morning through sleepy little eyes, sitting at the dining room table, faithfully reading your Bible.  Through little eyes, I watched you as you served the Indian preachers who came to Daddy for counselling.   I watched you bravely walk down the banks of the rivers with your accordion to play for the many baptisms in our missions. I watched you prepare meals and clean up after us with little or no water.  I watched you at night as you strained water through a cheese cloth so we would have enough drinking water the next day. And I watched you clean beans and rice...sometimes killing little bugs in them.... You made the best beans and rice!



I watched you get us ready for bed in Ixtapa with the light of a karosene lamp.  All eight of us had a clean bed and clean pajamas.  What a comfort it was to me to look across the room and see you there, just before I closed my eyes to sleep!



I watched you serve sandwiches and lemonade to the homeless bum whom Daddy cared so much for. He sat at our table many times and you served him as if he were a very important guest.

I watched you nurse Daddy back to health during dengue fever. I watched you clean up after sick babies...change diapers for my siblings...and wash out cloth diapers for my baby sister.


I watched you be the nurse when Dad's patients came for a diagnosis.  I watched you serve cold lemonade to unsaved neighbors while Daddy talked to them about salvation.

I watched you home school eight children.  Patiently.  Thoroughly.  Organized.  Stedfastly.



Stedfastly, You have lived your life as a missionary's wife, and now as his widow.  Faithfully.  You never quit, never ran away, never gave up, and never got bitter. Even when so many turned their backs on you...you never left. You were by our side every day. You were always there.

You were there to encourage us to reach our full potential for God's glory.



And you're still here.  Just as stedfastly and faithfully.


By our side.


I am so privileged to be by your side today.  Celebrating your life as a mother.  You've done it so well. I can honestly say there is no better mother than you.  You have loved us, in spite of all we have put you through.  You didn't let your hurt be more than your love.  Only a mother can love the way you love.  Purely. Lastingly.  Un-grudgingly.

You are worthy of honor on this day.  I praise you for your works.


I Love You.
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Couples

On this day, when love is in the air, my thoughts turn to my beloved and all that he means to me.  I wonder if I could survive if anything ever happened to him.

I watched a movie yesterday of a man who suddenly and tragically lost his wife, and watched how he grieved and struggled to deal with her death.

I saw a picture of a friend who recently lost her husband to death.  The picture is of them together last Valentine's Day, and a short time later, he was taken from her with no warning.

Life is but a vapor.  Here now, vanished in a second.  Treasure your spouse.  Love him/her.  Tell him/her what they mean to you.  The next instant could be too late.

Through my kitchen window, I can look out onto the street, and I see many, many people from my neighborhood walk by my window on that dusty, gravel street all day long.  I see school children; I see men walking to work; I see women on their way to the market.  And I see couples. 



I like observing couples.  Sometimes they're holding hands, and I smile; sometimes they're laughing about something.  But sometimes I see the wife with a hard look on her face, and the husband looks distant.  No conversation going on; no touching between the two. 

I wonder, what created the distance?  What did they allow to creep into their lives that created this distance?

My husband says that I'm extremely compassionate toward others' pain and troubles.  I grieve too deeply with those who grieve, although they may be thousands of miles away.  I wake up during the night praying for babies I don't even know, but who are in heart surgery.  And I literally beg God to put couples back together; I spend time begging God to get the "other woman" away from the man so the wife will have a greater chance at taking him back.  And I pray for the children of couples who have decided there's no reason to stay together.

The home is an institution created by God.  The home begins with a man and a woman who decide they're better together than separated.  And what God hath joined together, let not man put assunder.

I think about when my husband and I were united in holy matrimony...that day we vowed before God and man to love, cherish and honor one another through sickness and health, poverty and wealth, for richer or for poorer.  Since then, we've experienced many emotions, disappointments, troubles, fears,...but as we've looked to God through those times, He has kept us together, as a couple...no more twain, but one. ONE.



As we live in this sinful world, we all struggle with seeking to live a life that is pleasing to God, as our flesh takes over and seeks victory.  But taking one moment at a time, thinking before we speak, preferring the other before ourself, uplifing him in honor and in reverence...then I say we'll be advancing toward a whole lifetime with our spouse...'til death do us part...be it tomorrow, or forty years from tomorrow.

 
On this Valentine's Day, re-evaluate your priorities.  Make today a time of thinking about what's truly important in this life.  Not a career...but working at unity, harmony, and love in your relationship with your spouse.  Not dreams of building a house...but the building up of those within your own home, edifying them through wisdom and establishing through understanding.  Not plans of driving the latest model vehicle, but the desire of steering your marriage always in the direction of Bible principles for living as husband and wife...and doing all for the glory of God.

Love your spouse.  And tell him/her today how important he/she is to you!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Memorials

“And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of Jordan, and take you up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel:

And this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?

Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord: when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.”   Joshua 4:5, 6, 7 
--You can read the context of this in Joshua 3. 

 A memorial is “something (as a monument) meant to keep remembrance alive.”

My family has several specific prayer requests for which we are praying.  Some of them are personal; some involve the whole family; others have to do with people outside our family.  But we are all praying fervently for these specific requests.

One request involves a very big desire that my 10-year-old daughter has.  She has been praying for this specific thing for about two years.  God has not yet seen fit to give her that desire of her heart.  But she continues to pray faithfully.

A few days ago, she called me into her room and began to cry.  She told me it seemed that God was not going to give to her that for which she is praying.  She told me she was very discouraged.

I sat down and told her, “Debbie, do you want me to tell you a secret?”  Her beautiful big brown eyes were filled with tears and she looked up at me.  “Your ‘thing’ for which you are praying is not going to make you happy.”  She looked at me in disbelief.  I said, “Things do not make you happy.  One of these days…and I do believe God is going to answer your prayer…you will have your ‘thing,’ and for a few days you will be so excited, and thrilled that you have received your ‘thing.’  But it will NOT make you happy.  The newness of your ‘thing’ will wear off, and you’ll eventually get back into the hum-drum of daily responsibilities.   But I’m going to tell you what WILL make you happy: the fact that God HEARD your prayer and ANSWERED your prayer.  You’re going to look at your ‘thing’ that God has been so gracious to give you, and your heart is going to just FILL up with joy because you’re going to remember how long you prayed for it; and you’ll just be in awe that GOD heard and answered your prayer!”

One request that we have as a family is for God to allow us to make a trip next year to the States for a Family Conference in a Hispanic church.  We have been praying and trying to save our money so we can make this trip.

That afternoon, I told Debbie, “You know, if God lets us make that trip to Chicago next year, we’re going to have a lot of fun, and we are going to get to meet new people and make a lot of memories.  But that trip will be over and we’ll come back home.  All we’ll have from that trip are pictures, a few souveniers, and some really great memories.  But the thing that will make us the HAPPIEST is the fact that we prayed together and saw God provide the money and the time for us to be able to make that trip.”

Her heart was encouraged, as was mine.

When you pray…and you pray…and you continue to pray for a need, or for a lost loved one, or for a specific desire…you expect God to answer.  And when He does, your faith grows; and your heart fills with joy over the fact that God in Heaven hears and answers prayer.

But that answered prayer becomes a memorial in your life and in your heart.  It becomes a monument for all to see…that our prayers are not in vain.  And when our children ask, “What does this mean?”  we can testify to the fact that, as Joshua said to the children of Israel, “Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you…” (Joshua 3:10).

What a great testimony for our children to see us pray; and for the generations to come to know that we are trusting God to meet specific needs!  And when He answers our prayer, and we see Him meet our need, we may all say, “May God be glorified, great things HE hath done!”

 

 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Prayer for the Mayor and A Ministry



My Mom tells the story of the time when our house was the last house on the block, and there were no street lights on our street.  (Since then, more houses have been built on down the street, and our house is no longer the last one.)  The street was so dark, and at least twice, thieves broke into our house when we were not there.

My Mom says she began to pray for the mayor of our city, asking God to touch his heart to put a street light on our corner.  She said that not many months after she began to pray, the city came out and put up a street light on our corner.

She tells this story every year at her Annual Christmas Banquet…she tells the ladies:  “I did not set up a road block; I did not go picketing in front of the mayor's house; I did not gather people and make a manifestation in the streets.  I simply prayed for Mr. Mariano, and I asked God to touch his heart; and God answered my prayer!  That street light is a constant reminder for me to pray for what I need, and to pray for the leaders in our city and in our country.”

The ministry of the Annual Christmas Banquets began years ago, as a desire that God put in my Mom’s heart to reach the high-society ladies in our town.  Her first Banquet was in 1999, and there were 9 ladies present.  16 years later, it has grown to over 100 ladies in attendance, and many people being saved.  The guests of honor are the current Mayor’s wife, as well as the wives of former mayors. Every year, mayors’ wives attend from the surrounding towns and villages, and in recent years, congresswomen, senators, and other public service ladies have been present.  (Each guest of honor receives a Bible.)





Mom has also started having as guests of honor the wives of the military men and of the policemen in our area.  God has truly used this ministry to reach out to many ladies in our community.


I ask that you please pray for us as we work in the next few weeks to prepare everything for this Annual Christmas Banquet.  We love seeing how God provides each need for this amazing ministry. 

If you will be praying for us, would you please let me know?

Friday, August 28, 2015

It Is Well (A Home-Maker's Power Through Prayer)

"Are you weary?  Are you heavy-hearted?  Tell it to Jesus."

I'm meditating upon the passage in the Bible in II Kings 4 where the Shunammite lady's son had suddenly died.  I am amazed at her calmness as she quietly told one of the young servant men to saddle a donkey so she could go to the man of God.  Her words in verse 23 amaze me:  "It shall be well."  And when she met Gahazi, and he asked her, "Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child?"  She answered, "It is well."

I think that if Gahazi had asked me that question, I would have completely lost it.  I might have crumbled into an emotional outburst and dissolved in a puddle of tears. But this Shunammite woman was so full of faith and trust in her Lord.  She maintained a calm and peaceful spirit in the midst of her greatest heartache.

I am challenged and encouraged by this lady's show of faith.  I am only an imperfect home-maker.  I have so many faults and I fail to do things right.


But I have a great God.  Yes, I do.  I know that He hears me.  And at times when I don't have control over certain situations, I can cry out to God, and God alone, and I know He hears me, and He will give the answer.

Just this past weekend, my mother gave a lesson to some ladies on the life of Queen Esther.  Queen Esther faced a very dangerous situation, as her people were facing elimination.  She was told that she must act, or she could perish along with her people.  "What was Queen Esther's action?" my mother asked.  She didn't call an army together to defeat her enemy!  She called her maids to fast with her and to pray.  What a lady of great faith!  God gave her incredible wisdom to deal with the wicked, murderous man who was threatening her people and her own life.  God gave her the wisdom to know how to deal graciously with the heartless King who was her husband.

And dear Wives and Mamas reading this, we, too, have power with God.  We may "only" scrub toilets and mend clothes and prepare meals for our family today; perhaps the only thing we accomplish today is teaching the ABCs to our little Pre-K child; you may have struggled today just to get the clothes out on the line; you may feel like a failure because you had so many interruptions and didn't get it all done.  I know.  I'm there so many times! 





But God has confirmed in my heart that He is right there with me.  He sees my struggles, but He sees my motives and my intentions.  He sees all my imperfections, yet He sends me love-gestures throughout my day.



And when things seem to be spinning out of control, we can say with confidence, as that Shunammite Mama said, "It is well." And we can know that all is well.  All is well because we have direct access to the One Who conrols it all.  He set the moon and stars in their place; He keeps the earth rotating, and the seasons of the year do not cease because He controls them.

Take heart!  Pray when your child just doesn't get his Math concepts, and doesn't seem motivated enough to do school.  Pray when your grocery money just doesn't quite make it to the next pay day; pray when you have a "want," but it is an expensive "want;" and know that the Lord can fulfill that desire.  Pray when your toddler seems like he'll NEVER get potty-trained.  Pray, wife, pray when Hubby's decision leaves a feeling in your heart that "it" may not be right. God wants to hear from you...He sees your situation, but He wants you to ask, so He can give.


And He wants to develop in your heart an unwavering confidence that He is in control.  And that all is well.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Night Cometh

I took an invitation to my "chicken lady," (as I affectionately call the sweet lady who sells me chicken) for our Daily Vacation Bible School. She kindly took it and said she'd give it to her daughter, who has young children.

For many months I have been praying for her and inviting her to church events; and yet she has never come.

From the very first morning of our VBS, every day, a middle-aged lady brought a little 7-year-old girl, Keira, who was so enthusiastic about everything.  She learned the Bible verses and songs; sat and listened intently to the Bible stories that were told; and answered questions when called upon.  Who was this little girl, and to whom did she belong?

She accepted Christ as her Saviour that week.  She sat on the front row on Sunday, the day of the closing exercises.

As I was walking out of church on Sunday morning after the closing exercises, one of the men in our church stopped me and said, "I want you to meet my neighbor.  He came with his granddaughter."  As I talked to this kind gentleman, I realized he was my "chicken lady's" husband!  He is Keira's grandfather!


I was so excited and rejoiced in my heart for this blessing of knowing that Keira is my "chicken lady's" granddaughter.  What an open door!


So yesterday I went to visit my friend.  I told her how blessed we were to have had Keira in our Bible School this year, and how much fun she'd had.  My friend told me that every day, Keira came home from VBS just bubbling over with excitement and couldn't wait to go back the next day.  She told me, "Keira loves the Bible, and she loves when someone takes her to church.  We are Catholic, and my daughter does not like to take her to church."

I told my friend that while Keira is young and has a desire for the Word of God, she should be taken to church and instructed in the things of the Lord.  I told her, "There comes a time in the lives of young people when their hearts are turned toward other things, and while Keira is young, she should be brought to church."


As I have meditated upon our conversation, I realize how quickly the night is coming.  We have a small window of opportunity to witness to our friends and neighbors.  It is when God lays someone upon our hearts that we should be prompt in responding to the Lord's leading.

I ask you to pray for this family.  There are so many more just like Keira who came to VBS this year.  Our work has just begun as we, as a church, seek to reach out to these families and try to disciple them and get them grounded in the Word of God.

How about you, Dear Reader?  Has the Lord laid someone upon your heart to whom you should witness?  I urge you to be obedient to the Lord's leading.  Don't let another day go by.  The night cometh when no man can work.