Saturday, November 23, 2013

The man with the van to the rescue

I was on pins and needles waiting for my husband to get home from work so I could go to work. We switch like that 2x a week. He was running late, so I was too. At least my job doesn't care when I get there- I just get less baked.

I headed off and was trying to get there promptly and safely.

Then I saw flashing lights in my rear view mirror and stopped since it seemed a policeman wanted to pull me over.

When he came to my window I asked him what I had done wrong. He said, "Hold on and I will explain it." In the fluster of finding my wallet in my huge purse, and my drivers license and the car documents, I tried using both English and Latvian. I also hoped he'd be merciful to me, a foreigner.

Finally, he came and showed me that my front RH light wasn't working and only gave me a warning. I was so thankful for that, as I was feeling close to tears and very late for work.

I waited until he was pulling away to try to start my car and then realized it was as DEAD as a doornail. I was stuck! Now what?

Since my emergency lights were flashing someone was quick to stop and try and help. An older man in a mini-van agreed to try and jump my car. It didn't work, he even thought his cables were not working properly because it wouldn't charge up enough to start.

So I took things into my hands and started asking all the men passing by if they'd help push my car. The first said, "I'm in a hurry. I can't." The next walked right on by. The third responded and came over to help.  (Does that remind you of anything? Like the good Samaritan?  I was shocked these first 2 were heedless to the plight I was in ).

So the older man and the young 3rd man tried pushing me and I was at the wheel.
(NOTE: I never seem to be successful when being pushed to jump the car. I don't know if my timing is off or what. But now I just worry and think it won't work when I'm at the wheel. I still need to learn now to do this!). And of course it didn't work. . .

So I called 2 more guys going past to come and help push and the older man got in at the wheel. Then the 4 of us pushed as fast as we could and YAY success, it started.

I yelled a huge thank you to the three guys as I ran to catch up with my car and profusely thanked the man in the van for rescuing me and got to work extremely late.

It was a crazy day and yet I am thankful that God took care of me and brought 4 men to my rescue. A special thank to the man in the van for taking so much time to try to get my car jumped and seeing it through to the end. Whoever you are or were- you were like an angel sent by God.

Friday, November 22, 2013

This World Groans

Yesterday evening we had just finished our supper and were discussing our evening plans. I needed to go to the store and my husband wanted to do some welding in the basement. So I took the 3 kids and got them all bundled up, and got in the car.

I had backed out and was closing the gate when all of a sudden I was flooded with a wave of fear that seemed to shake through me like an earthquake. I remember thinking, "What if there is an earthquake and I am stuck away from my husband and home with 3 kids ages 5 and under? Maybe I should just stay home." But I let God remind me that I cannot live in fear and headed out. It was apx. 18:00.

Just now I went online and was shocked by the news that in Riga, not more than 30 miles away, the roof of a store- (the same chain I went to here with my kids- ) had collapsed, at 18:00 yesterday evening. At least 30 are dead, and the search is still on through the debris of a fallen roof.

I sit here in grateful tears- that God chose to protect our little family and bring us safely together again. And yet my heart aches in the pain of those lost and families broken in this tired, groaning and broken world.

Jesus, we need you more, now than ever! 

Read Here

Friday, November 8, 2013

Playing the Piano

With my children tucked in their beds I sat down to let my fingers fly across the keys of our piano. I breathed a sign of relief at finally having an uninterrupted 30 minutes to just play, and cringed realizing how very out of practice I am.

Yet joy filled my heart with thankfulness for the truth that my fingers do remember this keyboard and that these notes once learned so long ago shall never be forgotten.

Music:  soft, caressing, stress-relieving, loud, fun, and every other emotion known to man can so well be aired and relieved through this gift God allows us to enjoy.

How thankful I am for the 16 years of private piano lessons my parents paid for. Imagine the investment my parents paid for all those lessons. Wow! Thank you Mom and Dad.

And even though with my little ones around me I don't often get to play now since they like to join me and my 18 mos. old wants to bang on it and then I quickly grow frustrated and close it up. Yet I am so thankful knowing that I CAN play the piano and when again I do have time to sit down and play that it will come back to me.

Living numerous places growing up I had a LOT of different piano teachers and a lot of different methods taught me.

I remember being praised for having perfect pitch when I was no more than 6 or 7.  I remember having to memorize 10 short pieces for a jury and forgetting EVERY one of them in the stress of the moment. (Since then I could never perform by memory successfully). I remember the big Dalmatian of my teacher's that used to lay on my feet or the peddles during lessons.

I was a lazy student as a kid, but am thankful my parents made me stick to it. Because I did learn, even if I didn't practice much, which changed later when I got older and even more in college.

How I loved accompanying my sister while she sang and I played. How I loved played Christmas carols and hymns at the nursing home. How I loved having this knowledge and this gift to relieve my stress as I poured out my pain over a broken heart into those understanding keys.

Playing an instrument is something that speaks to ones soul, and something with which we can bring glory and praise to our LORD.

How I hope that my children will learn to love music and enjoy it and value it in the future as I have.

Say thanks to your parents today if they paid for years of lessons for you too!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Woman of Salt

Today I was studying about Lot's wife in my quiet time.

If you don't know that story click here

We know little about Lot other than a few things:

  • She and her family lived in a very wicked city. 
  • She and her family were loved by God and given a chance to escape destruction. 
  • She and her family were given specific instructions to flee, flee fast, to the mountains and not to hesitate or look back. 
  • God was merciful to one righteous family out of an entire city of wicked people. 
  • But she chose to disobey instructions and look back, and lost her life by becoming a pillar of salt. 
It is easy to wonder how and why? What made her hesitate? I love the way Liz Curtis Higgs makes these stories come alive in her book "Bad Girls of the Bible."

But ultimately we don't know what made her hesitate, we only are left with a warning.

Often in our lives we are given instructions and give instructions to our kids. How do we teach them to be and become ourselves people who hurry to obey and don't hesitate or look back?

Looking back may not turn me into a pillar of salt, but it does at times cause me to be a pillar of regret or remorse of thinking what could have been.

Disobedience to instructions is never to be toyed with and lets be sure to train our children to obey by setting them an example of obedience ourselves.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Two Worlds Married

I have been married now for nearly 7 years and these have been very good,  happy years.

When I married a Latvian man I knew I was choosing to live my life forever away from the life grew up with and was familiar with.

Yet, growing up in the States I never thought I'd live there. I studied to be a missionary. I read about missions, I longed for adventure and to see the world.

Now 7 years later I realize that missing ones country, or to be more precise ones family, culture and upbringing never goes away. In fact, if anything the distance has seemed to grow and the difficulty in having every person from my side of the family an ocean away is hard, REALLY hard, and gets only worse with time.

Marriage is a blessing, and cross-cultural marriages can be and are very rewarding. But they have an entire set of problems that 2 people marrying from one country may never face.

I want to step out on a risky limb and state that I think that if at possible a person is better off NOT marrying someone from another culture. And I don't say so because I'm unhappy. But rather as I raise my kids an ocean away from their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins I have realized that the choices I made in allowing myself to fall in love with a European have altered the course of our family history and future.

I have thrown a loop in the plan of family and closeness by making it harder for my children to know and be close to their aunts, and uncles and cousins in America. I have created complications for my kids with the fact that one day they may have to choose which country they prefer. 

I realize that I have made my life more difficult and more sad because I have chosen to be far from the relatives I love so dearly in the States. I realize that I have made my marriage more complicated because I threw in another language, and an entirely different world view and culture.

Now, if you, like me are married to someone from another land we know that this is exciting, and wonderful, but hard.

There are days when you don't understand the tiny things in the language that are simple, but just slip over your head because maybe you are having a bad day.

There are days when you hate living in a foreign land and long for home.

There are days when  you would give anything to be in the embrace of your Mom or Dad, or Grandma who is an ocean away and who see at best every few years.

And despite all of this I am thankful for this wild adventure I'm on. Thankful for this plan God has allowed to unfold so far in my life and thankful He is still at work.

What is your cross-cultural story?