The Davis’ Are Coming!

Aside from the crazy few days that my friend Angie flew in to help me get unpacked and settled (praise God, I’m so thankful He sent her at just the right time) we have yet to entertain anyone in our new home. Finally, we have company coming and I’m excited!

A la Allison, I started prepping early. Tonight it’s just home-style cooking, nothing fancy. We will gather around the table for fellowship and share a meal with friends. One of my very favorite things.

Our table has a special place in my heart. A generous and gracious gift from one of our elders and his sweet wife. The BIG table, that will seat 6-8. It’s beautiful and perfect and truly an answered prayer.

Here’s a little peek inside La Casita de Marcos y Elena. It’s decorated with love and lots of fond memories.

Here’s to making a few new ones!

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OneEighty

1My son, do not forget my teaching,

but keep my commands in your heart,

2for they will prolong your life many years

and bring you peace and prosperity.

3Let love and faithfulness never leave you;

bind them around your neck,

write them on the tablet of your heart.

4Then you will win favor and a good name

in the sight of God and man.

5Trust in the Lord with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

6in all your ways submit to him,

and he will make your paths straight.a

Last night we had the pleasure of attending the annual OneEighty fundraiser for the first time. On our first visit to the Quad Cities back in January, I heard bits and pieces about Rusty and how the ministry got started. I knew a little bit about what they do. Many of our new friends at Calvary are involved at some level. When they tell the stories, they get tears in their eyes.

Last night felt much like my first international mission trip. I went with an idea of what it was all about, and returned completely blown away by God.

There’s undeniable fruit that comes from faithfulness, and real life change happening in people and the community here. God’s favor, raining down.

I wish you could all have been there to hear the testimonies. And the numbers don’t lie. This ministry is exploding and people get it. It was a packed house last night, nearly 1400 in attendance with only a few empty seats scattered about.

I’d like to think that other ministries could take the OneEighty model and effect the same kind of impact in their cities. With love and faithfulness bound around their necks, and written on their hearts.

Click HERE to learn more about OneEighty.

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Evidence

So much has happened in the past 9 weeks. For my own benefit I tried listing events, thinking it would promote healing, but the exercise felt a little overwhelming. Looking at life in a string of black and white bulletpoints evoked some emotions that I’m not interested in dealing with right now. Another day perhaps, but not today. Besides, sharing specific details of hardship and blessing here could be misperceived as bragging. That’s not what this blog is about.

I will say this …. despite any circumstance, sadness, missing, difficulty, loss, expense, burden or hardship, there is astounding and undeniable evidence of Gods goodness, grace, mercy, presence, providence, purpose and peace all up in our story.

If there’s anything I want to share about this new season, it’s a profound sense of gratitude, deeper trust, greater dependence, joy and love.

Over and over God has done what only He can do. Some might call the things that have happened luck or coincidence. That would be false. It is unmerited favor and blessing by our good good Father, plain and simple. No doubt in my heart and mind, there’s clear evidence of His care and attention to the even the smallest of details of our lives. Neither Mark nor I have done anything to deserve it.

There was a time before I gave my heart to The Lord. How did I ever get by before I decided to do things His way? Knowing what I know now, having experienced both the absence and presence of God in my life, it’s hard to comprehend how anyone could face the choice and not choose Jesus.

Telling you about His goodness to us isn’t bragging. It’s glorifying to Him.

Whatever you’re going through, I want you to know that God’s promises are true and trustworthy and they can be yours. The reasonable and logical response is repentance, surrender, trust, dependence, gratitude and a love for Him that keeps growing daily.

It’s not some “name it and claim it” kind of religiosity. As if anything we could do could earn favor and blessing. If you’ll examine Gods word though, in both the Old and New Testament, you’ll discover that He makes promises to those who choose to put Him at the top and center of their lives. Evidence is in the book, every bit as real as the evidence in our lives.

This isn’t a comprehensive list, but a great start if you’re curious about God’s promises for those who seek and choose Him : https://www.gotquestions.org/promises-of-God.html

🙏

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Tal luego, Papi

3/15/1925 — 3/28/2018

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Almost Home

Barring the unforeseen catastrophe, Mark and I will again enjoy the blessing of homeownership very soon. Closing on our “new” 104 year old dollhouse is set for this afternoon. I’m over the top excited to be moving again, which I know sounds crazy …. but moving again means the beginning of finally being settled. (Y’all already know how I can’t stand UNsettled!!!)

My first stop after closing is the dollar store for shelf liner. Tape measure and scissors are at the ready!

For 37 days (so far) we’ve lived pretty basic. We’re still only using those things we considered absolute necessity …. those items that came in the cars with us, not counting the big furniture the movers brought.

The rest of our things remain in sealed boxes. Treasures are stacked ceiling fan high in the 10×10 guest bedroom. The WHOLE ROOM is basically storage.

The girly part of me longs for those things. Gifts received from special people. Memories of our travels together. Family possessions with sentimental value. The stuff that made our last house feel welcoming, like home.

On the other hand, God has used this time to remind me how little we actually need …

Food, Water, Shelter, Clothing

Here’s the thing, as basic as I say that we’ve lived during this time of transition, we‘ve enjoyed WAY MORE than what we needed. What I’ve mistakenly viewed as “basic” is truly wealth and riches …..

A fully equipped kitchen

My choice of places to shop, where groceries are abundant

Clean water, both hot and cold, from inside plumbing

Comfortable bedding and furniture

Light at the flip of a switch

A private place to get clean

Laundry facilities on site

Appropriate clothes and shoes for the season

Heat

Technology and entertainment

Transportation

A place of worship, and a fellowship of believers

Rich beyond words, and we still haven’t unpacked our belongings!

Lord, thank you for reminding me how rich we are. I am so grateful for all your blessings! Help me remain a good steward of what you give us. Help me separate wants from needs. I still struggle with wanting things to look a certain way!

PS — So what you don’t know is that I’ve been looking everywhere for a big dining table. Craigslist, furniture stores and Facebook sale groups. We have a really small table, and we’ve made do. The struggle was my WANT, for a big table. A want that I couldn’t justify spending that kind of money on.

Well even as I was writing out the last sentence of my prayer and was ready to post, I received a text asking me if I needed a BIG table, because one of our elders was GIVING THEIRS AWAY.

Isn’t this just like our God?

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Idols

We knew there would be a period of inconvenience during this move and tried to prepare for it in advance. Since our furniture and personal belongings would not deliver to Moline for at least a week from day of pickup, we packed both our cars full of ‘necessities’ like lamps, blowup mattress, sheets and towels, personal care items, winter clothes, camping chairs, folding table, cookware and all the basic kitchen items and of course, a tv. Our vehicles looked like the opening scene of the Beverly Hillbillies, I kid you not. (Y’all come back now, ya hear?)

We made it just fine roughing it those few days though, and have intentionally NOT unpacked all those boxes. The movers set up our furniture and the rest of the stuff is stacked ceiling high, filling the entire guest room. Mercy.

My deepest desire has been to hurry up and get settled here, in a real home, and get connected to our new community as quickly as possible.

The fact it hasn’t happened yet has brought to light some yuck I didn’t realize was there.

Yes. I KNOW our 6 month lease officially doesn’t start until tomorrow. I also know we’ve only been here 11 days. Maybe I occasionally struggle with impatience. Maybe, wink wink.

Just stay with me.

Y’all this feeling of unsettled makes me heart-skipping, stomach-aching, shoulder-tightening physically, emotionally and spiritually ill. I had no idea what an issue my desire for comfort, for feeling settled had become. My stuff, surroundings, complete with pretty inspirational quotes and table decorations. Even the convenience of having a washer and dryer in the home. Counter space, drawers and closets. A place for everything and everything in its place.

Oh, those good old days in Egypt.

I’ve been here only 11 days. How quickly I let all these things become idols.

I told Mark last night that I felt so convicted. When did it become not enough to have shelter, heat, a place to sleep in safety, a place to get clean, food in the fridge and a place to prepare it? When did I become like the Israelites?

It breaks my heart that I let the idols of comfort and convenience cause me to complain against The One who provides for all my needs, every single day, without fail.

““Two things I ask of you, LORD; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭30:7-9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:31-33‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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Last

This past week has been full of “lasts”. Last time serving on the admin team. Last staff meeting. Last highlight and haircut by Samantha. Last weekend in our little house in the Village. Last Sunday worshipping with our LifeSong family this morning, last lifegroup with my peeps a little later tonight.

We’ve received many hugs and well wishes, prayers over us and kind words spoken to us. It’s humbling and overwhelming. Yes, I ugly cried in public. Love has that affect on me.

Last minute things will get packed into boxes and cars in a couple more days. I told our pastor we’ve been working hard to get it all done, but have created margin for close friends and family.

Distance is just geography, relationships last and love endures.

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