Milestones in my recent life include the following:
1. My chickens (the ones I didn't burn up in last week's fire...oops!) are laying eggs.
2. My garden is growing things!! Peas, cabbage, broccoli, spinach.
3. I took the plunge and bought some yarn at the local yarn store, first time in months that I have even thought of knitting, and I am dreadfully behind in gifts for my two nieces and my other friends who had babies last summer...
4. Oh, this is news...I played the keyboard for church a couple of months ago...and survived. In fact, I get to play about once a month right now. Fairly stressful, but an honor to serve the church in this way. I do love to sing as well, but with my weak keyboard skills, I spend most of the time squinting at the music sheet and wondering if I am on rhythm. Perhaps God is giving me some humble pie for all of the times I grinned at my husband's mistakes. So...laugh at me at your own risk.
I can't think of any more list-type announcements, but I did think of a good purpose for writing this post. The past two days, a wonderful lady in our church has come to my house to bless me and help me straighten up. Straighten up? What am I saying?!! My house looked like an atomic bomb stuffed with dirty clothes landed on it. In fact, my house was so dirty, she left yesterday asking if she could come back to help finish today. Wow. And she told me, practically through tears, what an honor it was to come and serve. Well, friends, I have officially been schooled in loving others. My heart is so encouraged by her attitude. She embodies Christ as she walks out this verse "...in humility consider others better than yourselves" and I am sure that the Lord used her to accomplish so much more than a clean house in my life. I want to post more, but I am tired. Hopefully, I can share later how, among other things, her time in my home time has shown me what gospel-centered parenting looks like. :-) God bless.
Yesterday, I went in for my 14 week check-up. The midwife had some trouble finding the heartbeat, and so we walked down the hall to the ultrasound room to speed things up. As soon as the image of the baby came on the screen, I felt something was wrong. No movement, and no pulsing chest heart rhythm. The tech targeted the area of the heart to get a reading of the heartbeat. As the monitor scrolled across the screen, instead of sound there was silence. Instead of the yellow fluctuation of a pulse reading, there was a solid gray streak. I already knew, but the midwife softly said, "Taylor, I am not seeing any cardiovascular activity..." I began to sob uncontrollably. My heart broke in two and I felt so alone in that room. The women with me tried to offer comfort, but to no avail. The only comfort to be had in that time was from God, and I don't know that either of them realized this. I was taken to a room to grieve while Johnmark was called up to the hospital. I called a friend who had recently been through this tragedy and she prayed for me as I waited. God sent His peace. It has been with me ever since. Last night, we went to care group. We wanted to pray for a miracle. At least to ask our mighty God, who has the authority over life and death, to give back this baby. I know that may sound crazy, but that is okay. I wanted to place my trust in Him, even in this. As far as I know, there has been no change. The baby may not live (at least not here, I will know this child. It is a matter of when and where, not whether or no) or perhaps God has a radical miracle in store for our little world. My hope is steadfast in Him. I say with Job, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Thank you to everyone who has called, written, prayed, texted, stopped by, emailed, or just condoled in some way. God is good and faithful, and I want you to hear and see loudly this blazing testimony of His power. This has not come lightly, but it does bear witness heartily that what is in the Bible is true. In the midst of tragedy and suffering, it is true that He has been our refuge and strength and ever-present help. I do not question His goodness, or doubt His plan. He is good. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
The following is an email I received recently from Love N Care I urge you to read and consider fasting as well as to pray for these persecuted and martyred believers in India. This is a first hand account from a trusted personal friend of mine who serves over there.
"Maybe you’ve not heard about the terrible things that have been happening in several of the States in India in recent weeks. I’m sending this out to our email news recipients, because, according to one of our sources, too much of what’s really happening is getting by “under the radar.” There have been reports of violence against Christians in the State of Karnataka, and in the north of India, especially in the State of Gujarat, Over recent weeks, however, it is located principally in the State of Orissa. Below, I share one of these reports with you.
The following report is from husband and wife missionaries on the scene in Orissa. Their ministry, Good News India, is involved with rescue of “throw-away children.”It was passed on to us via friends who work with Wycliff Bible Translators. The “Dream Centers,” are, as I understand it, children’s homes. I should add, that the shootings that started this all, happened about three weeks ago.
“URGENT PRAYER REQUEST!
Dear beloved sponsors and friends
of Good News India. We have never seen anything like this. We
knew that Orissa was the most resistant and hostile State in India as
far as the Gospel is concerned. And we brushed off the continuous
threats and harassment we faced as we went about His work. But
none of our staff imagined that they would see this kind of carnage....
And it seems to be totally under the radar of the Western Media ....
Let me explain.... A militant Hindu priest and 4 of his attendants,
who were zealously going around the villages of Orissa and
"reconverting" people back to Hinduism, were gunned down by unknown
assailants in Central Orissa…. Immediately the
Christians were blamed. The cry rose up..."Kill the Christians!"
And the horror began.... In the past 4 days, we have first hand
witness to hundreds of churches being blown up or burned and many, many
dozens of Christian tribals have been slaughtered. For no other reason
than they bear the name of Christ.
“Night and day I have been in
touch with our Good News India Directors spread across 14 Dream
Centers in Orissa... they are right in the middle of all this chaos.
In Tihidi, just after the police came to offer protection, a group of
70 blood-thirsty militants came to kill our staff and destroy the home.
They were not allowed to get in, but they did a lot of damage to our
Dream Center by throwing rocks and bricks and smashing our gate, etc.
They have promised to come back and "finish the job." Our kids and
staff are locked inside and have stayed that way with doors and windows
shut for the past 3 days. It has been a time of desperately calling on the Lord in prayer.
“More police have come to offer protection. In
Kalahandi, the police and some local sympathizers got to our
dream center and gave our staff and kids about 3 minutes notice to
vacate. No one had time to even grab a change of clothes or any
personal belonging. As they fled, the blood thirsty mob came to kill
everyone in the building. We would have had a mass funeral there, but
for His grace. In Phulbani, the mob came looking for Christian
homes and missions. The local Hindu people, our neighbors turned them
away by saying that there were no Christians in this area. So they left.
We had favor. The same thing happened in Balasore.
“All our dream centers are under lock down with the kids and staff huddled inside and
police outside. The fanatics are circling outside waiting for a chance
to kill. Others were not so fortunate. In a nearby Catholic
orphanage, the mob allowed the kids to leave and locked up a Priest and
a computer teacher in house and burned them to death. Many believers
have been killed and hacked into pieces and left on the road.... even
women and children. At another orphanage run by another
organization, when this began, the Director and his wife jumped on
their motorbike and simply fled, leaving all the children and staff
behind. Every one of our GNI directors that I have spoken to said: "We
stay with our kids.... we live together or die together, but we will
never abandon what God has called us to do." More than 5000
Christian families have had their homes burned or destroyed. They have
fled into the jungles and are living in great fear waiting for the
authorities to bring about peace. But so far, no peace is foreseen.
This will continue for another 10 days.... supposedly the 14 day
mourning period for the slain Hindu priest. Many more Christians will
die and their houses destroyed. Many more churches will be smashed
down. The Federal government is trying to restore order and perhaps
things will calm down. We ask for your prayers. Only the Hand of God
can calm this storm. None of us know the meaning of persecution. But
now our kids and staff know what that means. So many of our kids coming
from Hindu backgrounds are confused and totally bewildered at what is
happening around them. So many of their guardians have fled into the
jungles and are unable to come and get them during these trying times.
Through all this, I am more determined than ever to continue with
our goal: the transformation of a community by transforming its
children. Orissa will be saved... that is our heart's cry. If we can
take these thousands of throw-away children and help them to become
disciples of Jesus, they will transform an entire region. It is a long
term goal, but it is strategic thinking in terms of the Great
Commission. What can you do? First, please uphold all this in
fervent prayer. Second, pass this e-mail on to as many friends as you
can. We must get the word out and increase our prayer base for this is
spiritual warfare at its most basic meaning. We are literally fighting
the devil in order to live for His Kingdom. The next 10 days are
crucial. We pray for peace and calm to pervade across Orissa.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please pass it on and help
us to get as many people to partner with us on this cutting edge effort
to fulfill His mandate: Go and make disciples of all nations....
As you probably know from an earlier email from Monika, there was some spill-over of all this violence, perpetrated upon one of our LNC churches. Orissa is the next State to the north, and not very far from Visakhapatnam."
So I was just clearing off my camera card into the computer, and decided to post a few recent pictures of our family. JM is the family photographer, so he isn't in any of the pictures, but there are some cute ones of the kids. This one is special for three reasons. First, it's Tabitha's birthday dinner. Second, Tabby and I are doing one of our favorite activities. Third, we are eating at Agua Linda (holy moly it's so good!) which is so fabulous I couldn't even put down the fork long enough to smile. Here are some more pictures from the birthday celebration:
On a somewhat related note, I will be posting some pictures here soon of items that I have knit lately. I am in the middle of Baby Shower Summer, with many handmade gifts to give out. This is related because in updating my profile, I mention that I am a knitter, and so I thought it would be nice to prove it. You know, build up the blogger/bloggee sense of trust. Ok, that's all for now.