Wednesday, December 29, 2010


-this post was written by Thomas-


Just found the quote above and I'm really liken it.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Adversity has a way of drawing out pride, fear, and insecurity from within me and exposing them. No wonder it is God's tool of choice to purify my faith. Now it's my job not to veil or mask my weakness during adversity but instead focus on the strength God offers me in Christ. When I'm facing adversity it's so easy to either act like I'm invincible or cry like a baby. I want to find that balance that says, "That hurt - but I will continue to focus on Jesus with all my might" It's hard to find heroes who do that. Many people just act like they are superman until one day they quit.

I'm using this note to try to figure out exactly what words I should use to describe the day I've had. And I know that many people I've discipled are watching my life closely right now. And for those who I've asked to watch and learn from the laboratory of my life about faith and calling - I want to be honest with you. Today was tough. I hate the unexpetected, out of control, last minute complications of life. I hate listening to someone I don't know tell me when I get to resume my dream. My initial frustration, anxiety, and disappointment faded into the raw truth that I really didn't appreciate God messing with my plans. Which led to the quick conviction that the previous sentence has an incorrect pronoun. "My" doesn't belong in front of plans when you're a believer. The one who owns me, and the universe gets to own the plans too. The point of this rambling is that my frustration was just a manifestation of my pride. The privilege of serving Him should be much more important and fulfilling to me than my travel itinerary. If I can just keep that mindset. . .

Please don't misinterpret this blog as a plea for sympathy. I am trying to allow honesty and transparency to be gifts I offer to a certain number of HARD CORE, JESUS FREAK, KINGDOM MINDED young people who are serious about calling and the journey involved. They are a constant inspiration to me and I owe it to them to be honest.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

too ironic to be ironic

our bags are packed and lined up in the living room. the goodbyes have been said. but we are NOT leaving for Uganda tomorrow. i'm not sure what we will be doing tomorrow, but it won't involve us getting on an airplane. it seems that i have a medical condition that requires our immediate attention. the doctor is very firm that the symptoms must be resolved before i can leave the country.

here's the background... (if you want all the details)
i began having stomach issues about 3 wks. ago, and went to the doctor. he concluded that i had a bacterial infection and treated me with antibiotics. i kept feeling worse and worse, but knew that the medicine had some yucky side effects, so i decided to "tough it out" until my round with it was up. i finished the medicine just before Christmas and still wasn't any better. Sunday, i went to convenient care and stressed to the doctor - "i'm leaving the country in 3 days! - i need to be over this!" he got me an appt. with a GI doc. yesterday who very directly told me that i wasn't leaving until we had answers to what was going on. this all shook us up, of course, but, thinking that we were still dealing with a bacterial infection, we assumed i would get new (better) medicine and, at the worst, our flight would be rescheduled for next week.

the verdict... (if you're in a hurry)
we found out this am that i have ulcerative colitis, which is a fancy way of saying that i have a very inflamed colon. yeah, yuck! it is (probably) a hereditary condition that i've always had but it has chosen now (maybe because of stress?) to act up. it isn't curable but can be treated with medicine. this isn't what we wanted to hear, but it could be a lot worse. the most difficult part is that we won't be flying out tomorrow of even next week. the doctor is saying we need to wait at least a month to see how this medicine affects me.

we are still kinda in shock and, of course, experiencing an emotional letdown. my nature is to fight this... i want to so bad! part of me says, "i'm really not so sick. i can do this! let's just go and believe that the medicine will do its job." but the spiritual part of me tells me that i'm not suppose to fight and throw a fit. i'm suppose to be humble and trust God. the timing of this is just too ridiculous to not have God's hand in it. i'm not saying He has cause this sickness, but i have NO doubt he has a purpose in it. we have no clue what that purpose could be, but eventually it will be clear and beautiful. we still know that God is making this transition happen. what is 4 or 5 wks in the breadth of our lifetime? maybe there is a place where we need to give in the next few weeks. maybe there is something that God knows we need to receive from Him. perhaps we aren't as prepared for this trip as we thought we were. my daddy always tells me that "Everything is Father-Filtered." so, among the frustration and disappointment, the peace is still there.

we SO appreciate your prayers, but please don't worry about me! i have no doubt my intestines will recover just fine - and my pride probably needed the injury. :)

In his heart, a man plans a course, but the Lord determines his steps. Prov. 16:9

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

one week from today

- posted by mika

at this time, one week from today, we will be in a plane en route to Brussels (then on to Entebbe)! WOW! i am so excited about touchdown in Uganda, but pretty nervous about everything that has to happen in the next 7 days. my heart is ready, but my house and suitcases are SO NOT!
i have written numerous blog post in my head over the last few weeks. my thoughts seem so jumbled, i just don't know where to start sorting them so other people can make any sense of what i want to say. but sorting and organizing seem to the order of things from here on out, so here goes... a brief synopsis of what i would write if i had more clarity and time.
i would title one post : Because HE is just that good!!!
this is the theme of my grateful heart this Christmas. i am overwhelmed at God's goodness that we so obviously don't deserve. i keep asking myself WHY??? why is He giving us this incredible opportunity to go serve in a way that i thought i would only get to dream about? why is He being so faithful to us when i haven't been very faithful to him? why has He prompted so many people to be generous to us when i myself struggle with being generous to others? why should i expect Him to open doors and give us favor when i don't take advantage of the opportunities that are right here right now? WHY when i don't deserve? the only conclusion i can come to is that HE is just that good! he is my Daddy who loves to delight me, surprise me, overwhelm me - all the while reminding me that it's not about me. i will never deserve Him.

and my other post would be titled : the Sweetest Years
i remember being a new bride many years ago, trying to understand my role as a 21 yr.old youth pastor's wife. i remember sitting around a table with a few other YP wives listening to "Momma Sam" Allen, our DYD's wife, as she gave us "nuggets of wisdom" from her years of experience. she said, "the pressures of ministry and the craziness of working with teenagers may seem more than you can handle sometimes... but enjoy it! because someday it will be over, and you will look back and say, 'those truly were the sweetest years of ministry!'."
so, now it is over - it went by so very fast. i spent a couple of hours last week sorting through pictures and allowing myself to be sentimental. pictures from the dome, the modular, Kid's Carnivals, Beach Camp, countless graduations, campouts, Princess Banquets. i looked at the faces of some kids who were part of our lives for a season and other kids who we've watched grow up and i know will be friends with for life. this new season before us promises adventure and new friendships and no less significance. but i think she was right. the sweetest years will belong to Jackson, TN. we gave our eager, inexperienced hearts and have been given so much more in return! this is our home, and we leave it without an ounce of bitterness. -only much much gratitude.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

-posted by mika

things are moving at a frenzied and exciting pace now. last Sunday we were able to announce to our church what our plans are. what a relief to finally talk about it all openly! so, it has been a week of many significant conversations, hugs, and tears. it has also been busy with house projects, trying to get this thing ready to sell! our kitchen is no longer green, just blah brown. (well, tumbleweed to be exact) we have a lovely new front door, shutters, clean fixtures and baseboards. books and journals are going in boxes. several boxes are for goodwill, and it's embarrassing how much just needed to be taken to the dump.
yes, this is really happening, and it's starting to sink in. our boys have had to process this rather quickly, as we just told them two days before we made it public. they are doing so well, especially considering that everything is full-speed-ahead. their toy stash had already been greatly consolidated from our previous yard sale. they didn't even ask why we were getting rid of their stuff and whined about very little that was sold. we sold their bunk beds yesterday, and they were delighted to "camp out" on the floor. they really are excited about the adventure ahead! Judah has expressed concerned interest over what we will eat there (always important for him!), and he's not too thrilled about the immunization shots coming up. Josiah laments that he can't take his air rifle to Uganda, but is comforted by our promise to keep it in storage. all three of my boys are really going to miss the woods behind our house! but i know what it means when i hear people say, "God gives you grace for what He calls you to." we are in His grace right now! i am physically, mentally, emotionally tired - but i feel God's strength when i think about WHY we are doing this. it is so worth it! my heart is sad and solemn when i look in my friends' faces - but it is a sadness that is made sweet by the recognition that the years of memories behind us and the genuine love between us is what makes goodbye so hard. what a blessing to have friends that think you are worth caring so deeply about!
yes, God's grace is sufficient. some people have commented to me, "i could never be as brave as you take my kids to Africa." "you're so strong to be able to do this." "i don't know how you're ok with just getting rid of all of your stuff." my response is always - "i'm NOT!" i'm not brave or strong or unselfish. it is just God's grace. i'm swimming deep in it right now.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

sometimes "meanwhile" can last a long time

- posted by mika

i'm holding my breath

i think an avalanche is coming, and i'm afraid
how do i prepare to get buried and lose my identity?

i think people will think we haven't been thinking - and i will be embarrassed
because the truth is, there is no Plan B, no safety net
all the chips are in one pile

i think i think too much about how it is going to happen, and i feel too responsible
i act like God holds out and reserves miracles as a last resort

i thought i had already begun to let go,
so then, why are my hands aching from this grip??

so there...
i am really not so intrepid
and not quite ready
and i'm still treating junk like treasures
and i'm ready to admit that i have A LOT to learn about trusting You!

Monday, July 5, 2010


tonight i am pondering how faithful God has been in my life - so faithful in His design and timing to bring about His plan. we are now in preparation mode to transition our family to Africa. to love some orphans. just to type that brings tears to my eyes and pounding in my heart. i still feel disbelief that this season (that i have prayed for, longed for, BEGGED God for) is now actually upon us.

this is totally new and exciting territory for our family. our ten years in Jackson have been absolutely wonderful - and all we have ever known as a married couple. we got engaged here, bought our first home here, had all our babies here. we've planted roots and shared life with friends who have become family. we haven't had any transition yet. we haven't really ever had to "step out in faith" and be completely dependent on God, as we are now contemplating selling all that we own and starting over. there are a lot of questions in our minds. there are lots of emotions! i wonder, are we being presumptuous or are we full of faith? i happily daydream about what we will be doing in a year, while i also get a big lump in my throat when i think about leaving our family and friends here. but, for T and i both, our overriding emotion is PEACE. we have so much peace about where we are right now and where we are going.

definitely, at this point, the hardest part is not being able to talk about all this with the people we are close to. i'm writing this entry in July... don't know when i'll get to actually post it. in fact, i am at the moment sitting at the table in my grandparents house. my and the kids have been visiting a few days while T is in S.Dakota. it has been such a lovely visit. i love being with my family, and i love seeing my children make memories with their great-grandparents. "bitter-sweet" is certainly the word i would use to describe how everything tastes to me right now. i'm so eager to be able to share what all God is teaching me through this process. writing a blog is probably like my " coping mechanism." i am such a girl and have this great need to TALK about everything! but i know this season has a purpose. it is good for T and i to "count the cost" now, to know we have a quiet, firm commitment between us and God, and it has nothing to do with other people's enthusiasm, encouragement... or lack thereof.

i wish i could adequately and concisely explain how all this has come about. it may seem sudden, but it really isn't. the dream to work with orphans has always been in our hearts. we talked about it before we ever even started dating. the dream to go OVERSEAS and work with orphans has always been in MY heart - not so much T's. he has never led me on to think that he would want to go be a missionary somewhere (even though he LOVES missions!). all i can say is God has been slowly, subtly (yet firmly) bending our hearts toward this continent. it began with an awareness of the need, then a stirring to respond. it was never as if God barked the order for us to go. there wasn't a shock-and-awe revelation moment where we knew we were "called." we just came to a logical conclusion that this, as T put it to me, is the "purest desire of our hearts." if we could choose what our family will be made of and the experiences that will shape us... well, this is it. are we "CALLED" to Africa? honestly, i don't really know what all that means. i just know i long to be there. i wish for it. i ask God to please allow us to serve the children - so much that i will abandon and sacrifice whatever i need to in order to go. so, this is where we are right now.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

content to be small

so, i am venturing into this world of blogging (which i know nothing about). i never have thought i would make a very good blogger. i do enjoy writing, and i don't mind sharing my thoughts. BUT... i am not very articulate, witty, or clever with my words. my daily life is not full of interesting drama. and something about all of this seems really presumptuous - to presume that anyone besides my mama would want to take time to read what i write. however, i feel inspired to write, because i want to share how God is working in me, in my family, in the "world" that He has placed us right now. in this season, the "working" in me personally involves God readjusting my perspective. i just feel overwhelmed with the bigness of GOD, the smallness of me / the cheapness of my life and the richness of eternity. my "stuff" is disenchanting me. my "mika-made" identity seems really shallow. and i LOVE the freedom i feel when remember these things!

several times when i was growing up, i remember Daddy talking about how we are like little dimes and God is the huge sun. there is just no comparison between the two! if i go outside, stretch out my arm, and hold a dime up in front of the sun - i don't notice the dime - only the brilliance and warmth of the sun. but i can pull the dime in so close to my eye, that it completely blocks out the sun's rays. SO OFTEN i project my life, blow it up to an enormous degree, that i forget why i am even living on this earth. it is easy to forget that i am just a tiny coin, useful to be spent in a very small way. all i can do is reflect God's light. i know He is going to be reminding me of this a lot more in the upcoming months! i really NEED to learn the humility of small things. my focus can't be on myself, my convenience, my security, my plans... ("for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal!" II Cor. 4:18) maybe this blogging will help me hold myself accountable to keeping the right perspective. and maybe... hopefully... it will give God an opportunity to deflect some little shimmers off of me in the process.