Our village invites residents to decorate their windows for Christmas and this year I signed up and did a Ps. 23 theme. I covered a tree with sheep, candy canes, snowflakes, and the first 3 verses on paper ribbons to remind passersby of the goodness of God. This newsletter will catch you up with us in the same vein…
The LORD is your shepherd, you lack nothing.
It seems that I don’t feel a lack until God is ready to provide it. Whether it is home renovation or a haircut, just when I reach the end of my rope, He provides for it. We’ve lived with one high performing desktop computer all these years and it has been adequate until recently. With my approaching 50th birthday, and the invention of the tablet computer, my soul began to feel the void that this device could fill. I wanted something light and portable of my very own without having to wade through all of David’s virtual clutter, but the iPhone was too small. Olivia was also fed up with her limping machine and started encroaching on our time on the desktop. During the holidays, while Noah was home and David was not working at school, it came to a head when we were playing musical desk chair almost 24/7! I let David know that "the cobbler’s children needed new shoes" and waited for provision. It came flooding in from many sources just after Christmas.
So last week, my husband surprised me w/an iPad, Olivia got a new laptop (that she will share when we travel) and with Noah back to school, life has become very serene in the evenings!
He makes you lie down in green pastures, He leads you beside quiet waters,
He refreshes your soul.
This verse is a good image of our holidays. It started with a great Thanksgiving hosted by the Richards. Though Rachel stayed in Indy this year, we had a sweet time with guests on Christmas eve, with each other on Christmas Day, and then we welcomed 3 different friends of Noah’s in the following weeks of his vacation time. We refreshed ourselves with lots of outings that we haven’t had energy, money or time for in the last several months. (And if French films are shown near you, don’t miss Untouchables - a blockbuster here that is full of hope and joy and has the power to annihilate any traces of racism in your heart.)
He guides you along the right paths for His name’s sake.
We continue to seek God about marriage ministry here. Our pastor is asking us to keep working towards this and as we initiate discussions with the Love After Marriage leaders in the States, we come up against the same French hurdles – translation of materials, a poverty-mentality, and fear of transparency – in order to come up with enough couples in leadership nationwide who are willing to be transparent, can afford to attend, and have a workbook in French! Only God can pull this off, and when he does, it will demand our full-time focus. We need the timing to be right, with so many other things pulling for our attention. In the meantime, I take solace in the Sozo ministry that is healing individual hearts so that ministering to their marriages will be more effective.
Even though you walk through the darkest valley, you will fear no evil, for you are with Him; His rod and His staff, they comfort you.
Looking back, I believe that all the gains we made last March at the marriage seminar were to hold us together for the turbulent months that followed with David’s declining health. How wonderful it is to have my husband back, with new and improved emotional and physical energy available for us again (as long as he stays away from raw cauliflower!)
He prepares a table before you in the presence of your enemies.
Despite the above mentioned setbacks, serving good food continues to be my favorite way to bless others. I volunteered to donate dessert for 60 at this year’s teacher Christmas banquet. Lucky for me, the French appreciate small portions and I had it covered with 2 pumpkin cheesecakes and 2 pecan-date tarts, both new taste sensations for them!
He anoints your head with oil; your cup overflows.
Olivia was spoiled for her Sweet Sixteenth birthday this month: We bought her some clothes, took her out to eat, and then presented her with a card announcing that she was going on an 8-day father-daughter trip to Ireland! (We tried to capture the moment here.) She’s visited a lot of countries, but this has been her dream destination for a long time. They will be attending teachings on the spiritual history of the land at a YWAM base there and then intercede on-site in Dublin and Belfast. (David will get to hook up with an old friend from his Up With People days one evening as well!) If you feel led to pray for their trip, the dates are Jan. 22-29th. I will also relish my week alone w/no one to worry about except the cats!
Surely His goodness and love will follow you all the days of your life, and you will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
I am now living this out concretely with my new toy: the only worship music I listen to now is from the International House of Prayer live and archived on the internet from Kansas City and it cannot be downloaded easily. Living in a house with thick walls and lots of closed off rooms meant that I could only worship in our den, sitting in front of the desktop, which is very limiting (and distracting) for a housewife. Now, my favorite worship troubadours follow me all around the house! No more housework in silence, long sleepless nights, or neighbor negativity invading my kitchen! "Practicing His presence" just got a lot easier!!
Happy 2012! Angela