our work

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Job Well Done

Happy Reformation Day (especially to those reader friends who choose not to acknowledge the OTHER holiday taking place . . . the one that brings Reece's Cups from the homes of strangers into the greedy waiting hands of my prodigy).


For those keeping up with The Bartimaeus Project happenings, today is the last day of our Red Envelope Challenge.  The Red Envelope Challenge is laid out on our web page pretty succinctly but, basically, it's a push to obtain our start-up funding so my family can move to The Philippines.
It's gone well in my opinion.  We are inching closer to the move and are encouraged beyond our
wildest expectations at the generosity of God's people.  Many with no connection to The Philippines, blindness or adoption.  God has given them eyes to see and hearts to care even if the success of the project does not directly effect their day-to-day lives.

I love that!


I have received a recurring question regarding The Bartimaeus Project so let me ask and answer it here for others who might be wondering:

Q: If we would like to donate but do not care to donate online, what is the best way to get a check to your organization?
 A: A check can be mailed directly to The Carroll County Community Foundation at:
                                 Community Foundation of Carroll County
                                   255 Clifton Boulevard
                                 Westminster, MD
                                                        21157

Just be SURE to put "Bartimaeus Project" in the subject line!!!
CFCC partners with many worthy projects and also has a general fund so we want to make sure the donation intended for the BP gets right to us.


I have to give one last, huge, resounding THANK YOU to those who have already given.
We are in awe of the way God moves hearts . . . He moves, you move, we move . . . the ripple effect.

FOR IS GREAT FAME,
NIKKI
Find Our Project HERE


                                  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Answered Prayer and White Fields

After a wonderful walk in the dark hours of the morning with my faithful walking friend, I came into the quiet house determined to spend some quality time in God's word. I have not done as well in that pursuit as I would like lately. I really need to go on a fast from my ipad . . . that would help.  Words with Friends or Words from my Father???? Hmmm . . . it should be an easier choice than I make it.

I usually prefer to choose a book of the Bible, most often Old Testament, and read chapter by chapter. I love seeing the hand of God in the lives of His chosen servants like David, Moses, Gideon and Daniel.  But today I played a little "Bible Roulette".  I do NOT recommend this method of study as a general rule but there have been times in my life when God has used it to speak to my heart.
Like today.

I opened to Matthew 20 and saw it . . .

It is the parable of the workers in the vineyard.  The master hires workers in the early morning, the afternoon, the late day and the evening and pays each worker the SAME wage at the end of the work day.

Those hired early are indignant!  They worked ALL DAY and received the same wage, albeit a fair and previously agreed-upon wage, as those who worked just a couple of hours.

The owner of the vineyard chastises those complainers with the remark "am I not allowed to do what I want with what belongs to me or do you begrudge my generosity?". 

And I realize that my husband and I are those workers hired very late in the day! But HE has been and is still being so generous with us just because He is good and He feels like it. Not because we "deserve". We don't.  All we "deserve" we have mercifully avoided by the brutal substitutionary death of God's perfect son. 

And that makes me want to worship Him all the more . . . because grace begets gratefulness.

Yes, Father, you are allowed to do whatever you want with what belongs to YOU . . . and with WHOEVER belongs to you . . . because it pleases you to do it.

So in giving and taking away, in healing and not, in bounty and in want, we have no right to look over our shoulder or to the left and the right and ask why SHE gets this and HE has that.

We have only but to praise You for the provision that comes from Your hand.  Your loving, guiding, cradling hand that is promised to never leave or forsake us. The value of which can not be measured.

So thank You, Father, for hiring us. Thank You for the wages. Thank You for the work. 

Thank You for proving time and again that You are doing this and we need not strive.
Or worry.
Or doubt.
Or give up.


Thank You for the tangible ways in which you are carrying us. The severance, the insurance, the provision that is more than we asked or imagined.  When you owe us nothing but are giving us so much.

Why?

Not because of our goodness but because of Yours.  To make us humble. To remind us that not a breath is drawn apart from YOUR will.  To teach us to trust even more and to never fight You for the helm.


Hired. Paid. Used. Protected. Guided.










Monday, October 15, 2012

Free Indeed


Finally, after months of praying, talking, anticipating and planning, Our Father has given us some clear direction by way of a layoff.  Tomorrow (Tuesday), my husband is no longer an employee of Oracle, Inc. but is a "free agent".  This was a voluntary layoff in that he was asked quite awhile ago by his manager if he would like to be considered for such in light of his revelation that our family desires to shuck off this life and hit the mission field.

Excitement!

We have six children and some time will lapse between tomorrow and our physical move.

A little nervousness, too!

But God has always provided.  We have NEVER had to miss a meal.  We have never had our electricity turned off or had to use a food pantry.  And many Believers we know personally HAVE gone through these trials.  And we are no better than they. And maybe we, too, will experience these things.  We prefer being the "helper" as opposed to the "helpee" . . . but who doesn't?   And we read in God's word that there is a time and a season for everything.

But we have done all we can to prepare.


Our only debt is our mortgage. And it's small like our house.  Thank you, Dave Ramsey!

We have taken and taught Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace University".  There is an emergency fund.
There should be severance although we do not know how much.  We find that out tomorrow.

That's a prayer request.  That the severance is exactly what we need to sustain this family until our move.  Our daily bread . . .

All this to say, we are fine. We are taken care of.  We are BLESSED!  We are filled with anticipation for what the Lord will do next!  We ask for nothing but the prayers of our fellow Believers.

We trust that our Abba, Father has ordered even this for His own glory!

Oh, that His name would be lifted up here, even in this time of transition.   That my faithlessness would not rise to the surface.  . . That everything we endure points to the goodness of our God.

That's all we long for . . . let it be . . .



 











Tuesday, October 2, 2012

To Mothers of Sons

I have five sons, for now. A sixth awaits us as we prepare our move to The Philippines...maybe even a seventh, eighth or ninth. Only the Lord knows.

 And He knows how much I love my one-and-only daughter. And that I would gladly mother another daughter but it seems that is not my path. I am a mother of many sons.

 It appears that is part of The Calling. Precious only-daughter understands this well. When asked if she would like a sister, she unashamedly replies "not really". You see, she is a sister to many brothers. Settled in that role so well. Playing Call of Duty and unwilling to bring the drama. The perfect sister in this house of men-children.

 I know many adoptive families who actively seek out daughters only. Others actively pursue sons. We have done neither but God has brought our sons to us. Before they are ours, I know them. I see that young man on the "waiting for my family" list and I think "Oh, there you are son. I thought it might be a girl this time but it's not. It's YOU."

 Each time we felt God leading us to scoot over and add a member to our clan, we prayed and poured over the lists of waiting children that come to us from our adoption agency. As much as I wanted a sweet girl-child to grab my heart, these boys kept beating them to the finish line.

 There is something so unique about the mother/son relationship. We are his first "girlfriend" in the most innocent sense, the benchmark of what a woman should be. We tell our boys, just by our actions, if they are doing a good job of becoming men or if they are failing in their fledgling attempts. Be mindful, mothers, of the balance between criticism and encouragement!

 In a society that tells our sons they need to be "in touch with their feminine sides", we can help them appreciate all the God-given masculine tendencies that will serve to make them excellent husbands and fathers.

 God has impressed on me since my first-born son was an infant that I hold much power in determining how this person sees himself.
 I must impress on him the centrality of God's word in every facet of life.
 I must encourage him to learn compassion.
 I must guide him in not giving vent to his anger.
 I must allow him to carry heavy things and open doors for me.
 I must not disrespect and devalue his father at any time.
 I must teach him what his eventual wife will lean on him for and help him to remember to say "I'm sorry".

 And his father holds even greater responsibility in guiding this budding man onto the path that breeds life, health and righteousness.
 Dad must impress on his sons the centrality of God's word in every facet of life.
 He must demonstrate what it means to protect and provide.
He must model quiet strength and a servant's heart.
He must communicate that no matter how difficult marriage can feel, we never give up.
 He must teach practical skills like oil changes, check book balancing, staying out of financial debt and power-tool usage while keeping all appendages.
 He must lead his family in a way that spurs his sons to aspire to the same.


As my sons grow and the notion that I will become the "second best" lady in their lives draws near, I am given to extra consideration for the types of men I will be giving to some dreamy-eyed young woman.

 I am proud of who they are becoming.

 Unfinished in many ways but shaping up to be men I am proud to call my sons.

 A Sacred Trust.