Monday, August 27, 2012

A God worth imitating

I have heard before that adoption is a wonderful example of what God has done for us. And before God totally began to interrupt my life, I would always just nod along, and agree. But I never fully grasped the full scope of it. I think the older I get, and the more places I go, and the longer I have walked in relationship with God, I realize…. I really, know nothing. Sometimes my brain grasps just a fraction of the things of God, and I am blown away. I have heard it said, that us trying to fully grasp God, is like a gnat trying to drink up the ocean. It just cannot be done!

The girls in the house, if I have my laptop out, in a common area, esp if I am on facebook, are all looking over my shoulder. Sometimes as I scroll down my facebook feed, and the girls will see someone has posted pictures, and they will all freak out, and want me to show them your albums on facebook. More than likely, if we are facebook friends. Kids in Rwanda have stalked your page, and poured over your pictures
.
And one common thing I hear from their lips is “America is like palace” Take a look around the room you are sitting in, as you read this. That, is a palace. They are not looking at pictures of grand places. But mainly it’s the pictures you take in your backyards, and your living rooms. It’s the pictures at the community pool, and the state fair. So today Alysse says to me “Mom, you left palace to come to Rwanda.”

And I do not say this to toot my horn by any means. The only thing I have done in this process is said “Yes” when God has started to interrupt my life, with another plan, one greater than my own. One which I still do not fully understand.

So after Alysse told me that, it made me think of Jesus. He left a palace. He left paradise. In a relentless pursuit of us. He could not stop thinking of us. He could not give up on us. His love for us, drove him to seek after us. To persue us. To go from perfection to a fallen world. To be cradled helplessly as a baby in the arms of a women he created. And he left his palace in persuit of love. A relentless love. And his love is perfect. His love drives out all fear, and brings joy unexplainable in the craziest circumstances.

My love is so imperfect. I will let you down. I might have let you down. I probably have let you down. God will use such a imperfect, sinner saved by grace. And put in them a relentless love for a bunch of orphans on another continent. And even though I have been absolutely terrified at times, he has given me the courage to take the next step. Always, just enough courage for the next step.

I am so thankful, that Jesus took my sin. I am so thankful, he left perfection to come to this fallen world, so I could know freedom and redemption. And since He has loved me, I can love. Since He has forgiven me, I can forgive. Since he has pursued me, I can pursue.

1 John 4:19 “We love because he first loved us.”

“You cannot take someone, somewhere you have never been.” –unknown.

 Jesus left heaven, to come take my place. To come take my sins. 
That I might know love. 
That I might love in His name. 


Lots of love from Rwanda, 
Tina

Friday, August 24, 2012

Everything is cause for dancing around here.

There is always lots of dancing going on in this house. 

Cooking dinner is cause to break out in worship songs, 
and dancing. 

Traditional Rwandese dancing for/with company. 

When I first got here, I was welcomed with dancing,
and my sides hurt from laughter. 

Yep, a whole lot of singing and dancing happens
here everyday. 

This house is filled with laughter and joy in the Lord. 
And I absolutely LOVE it. 

Lots of love (and dancing) from Rwanda, 
Tina




Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Times to treasure.

When I was here at the end of March, beginning of April, I was so drawn to this one baby.
There are so many infants here, but sometimes God tugs on your heart, and you just feel
God is calling you to pour into that one. However that might look like. To love that child well.
This infant (whose name I still cannot remember, because it is so hard to say!) I went to hold
and pray over every day last time I was here. I have been praying so hard for him since I was
back in the states. So it was so nice to see him again.
I am sure he does not remember me, as last time he was just 3 weeks old when I saw him.
But he sure was all smiles when I held him again. As tears fell on his smile and I told him
"Sweet baby, I have prayed so hard for you." I have been calling him Moses, since I
could not remember his name.



Oh how I wish I could tell you of all the sweet reunions so far, 
as they have been many. The times have been sweet. . . 

I got a great ab workout today too, with some deep belly laughter, 
with all these adorable princesses. 


Today I munched on my first sugar cane from the back yard
with Bridgette, after she laughed at me, examing it, and taking 
the first few bites rather cautiously. :) 

Oh and the times of walking hand in hand with Alysse singing down the road. 
Listening to sermons on itunes with John. 
The time in prayer and worship with the girls at night before we all go to bed. 

Oh, how I wish I could post a million more pictures, 
and share a million more stories. 

I cannot find words to even explain how honored I feel 
to get to be here and live alongside such royalty. 

Lots of love from Rwanda, 
Tina


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Yay, I made it.

Yay, I made it to Rwanda!

I have spent the last two days zooming around the back of a motobike, 
and trying to get things all settled in. 
But I think I am starting to get things settled a bit. 

It has been so nice to be back!
As soon as I walked into the house, the girls plowed me over
with hugs and dancing. It was one of the best welcomes ever!

The next night, they cooked me dinner. 
And carved my name in the mashed potatoes. 
Yep, that's how we roll here in Rwanda. 
Then they danced to welcome me, and it was a night 
filled with laughter and smiles. 

I am still kind of walking around in this jet lagged, 
excited, figuring things out daze. 
But it has been absolutely amazing, and I just 
wanted to let you all know, I made it safe and sound. 

:) 





Thursday, August 16, 2012

Let's dance


Tomorrow is the day. 

THE day.

My flight leaves LA at 6:30pm at night, and I fly into Istanbul, Turkey. Then I jump on the second plane and head from Turkey into Kigali, Rwanda. I will get into Rwanda at 11:55pm on Saturday.

All day today my breath is getting caught in my throat as I imagine the sweet reunions.

I have had to bite my lip, as the anxious anticipation rises up, and I think I may scream in excitement, and nervousness as well.

I keep listening to this song…..


August 17th, 2011, I was landing back on American soil from my first missions trip to Africa.

August 17th, 2012, I am stepping back onto a plane to go be with the lovelies God has placed in my life, whose lives, stories, hopes, and dreams I cannot shake.

I will update you guys as soon as I can when I am there. If you do not hear from me till mid week next week, do not freak out. I will be sure to clue you in on all the going on’s as soon as possible.

THANK YOU so much for all your prayers, encouragement, and support. I continue to be AMAZED at the giving of peoples time, prayers, and finances. I will never cease to be amazed at those of you who love these kids so selflessly and have never got to hold these precious ones in your own arms. And those who have pleaded before the mercy seat of Christ on mine and these kids behalf. YOU are the missionaries, and I am so honored to get to go deliver your love, hugs, and kisses!!  

Well, it is that time again. Time to stop overthinking, to take anxious thoughts captive, to step out of that boat, and onto the waves to dance with Jesus. To abandon all I know, all I can do myself, and stare into the eyes of my Prince of peace, in his arms, dancing atop the waves.

Here we go. Don’t think, just jump.

Ready…….

Set……….

GO!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

New life and restoration

Sometimes restoration looks like dental work that needs to be done, 
and no time, finances, or ability. 
And then a Godly dental practice steps in, and blesses your socks off!!!
Thank you Dr. Brunner and staff, for you sweetness and for the immense
blessing you have all been to me!!!

And if you know me, you know my obsession with butterflies. 
Like, obsessed with butterflies. 
Before you think I am some weird butterfly freak
There are some very legit reasons I just adore these insects. 

1. Hello, they start off as worms in a fur coat. 
Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things."
Psalms 16:2 "There is no good in me apart from God." 
Ok, I could go on and on for awhile here on this. But 
at the core of me, is ugly. I am a sinner (a worm if you will)
But, with the blood of Christ, Christ gives me a robe of righteousness
for my sin. It's gotta be the best exchange rate, ever. 
Rags of sin, for robes of righteousness, 
or a fur coat on a worm. 
(This was actually a joke I read online today, trying to keep the 
kids entertained in the car, about the definition of a Caterpillar being
a worm with a fur coat, but it really does fit!)

2. STRUGGLE. . . . . .
Did you know that if you help a butterfly out of the cocoon, 
it will never fly. The reason behind this is, the struggle to get out
is what strengthens its wings to fly. Without the struggle the wings
would be too weak, and it would get no where. It would become
dependent on whoever freed it, and never be what it was created to be, 
it would never do what it was made to do. Its the beauty in the struggle. 

3. BEAUTIFUL!!! 
They are gorgeous. Have you ever seen some butterflies and moths. 
They are NEW!
2 Cor 5:7 
"Therefore whoever is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come." 

Even as a worm, dressed in a fur coat, then flying from the struggle. 
Is it any wonder I ADORE these creatures. 


Yesterday we watched about 8 butterflies struggle out of their cocoons. 
(Caleb is a bit of a bug, insect, reptile fan. The other day, 
he wanted to bring a tarantula home from a hike as a pet. Thankfully
he didn't. But He did collect a bunch of worms sporting fur coats, 
we got to see become new creations!) 


Signs of new life, even before the breaking out! The cocoon turns clear, 
and you can see the vivid colors within. (It starts off green!) 


Breaking out of the old life, and emerging in its new one!


(I so had a migraine yesterday, and spent the majority of the day
in bed, so I do not look my best in this picture.) 
  NEW LIFE!!!

I love that in Rwanda, I have seen transformations as well. 
When these kids have people who believe in the hope and future
God has for them. When they belong to someone, be it a 
sponsor, or someone who has come along and REFUSES anything
less than to give them the tools to reach their potential, 
and awaken to the value of themselves. 
The kids walk with more confidence, 
the look of worry and concern is not so evident on their faces, 
they speak more certain, and laugh and smile easier. 

And thats the kind of God I serve, 
a God who cares about, every. single. detail. 
A God who knows us so well, he knows how many
hairs are on our very heads. 
A God who will send a silly American all the way
to Rwanda, to love on a bunch of orphans. 
A God who rescues, restores, and delivers. 

So, oh yeah........

NINE DAYS till I head to Rwanda. 

In Christ, 
Tina


Friday, August 3, 2012

Pen to paper....


August 17th.

That’s when I get to leave for Rwanda! For real, this is it.

God has delayed me in all the most amazing ways! He has hemmed me in with love, blessing, and provision, to step into Africa in wholeness.

I have had time to dream for the lovelies in Rwanda, and myself. To dream BIG, and trust BIG.

I have felt in a way like I dipped my quill pen in ink, and the ink is wet, the pages are blank, and the next chapter is just ready to be written on. To keep writing this love story of a relentless God who pursues his loves. A God who loves extravagantly. And here I have sat, with these blank pages ahead of me, and just waiting to put the pen to paper.

August 17th, I get to put the pen down on this new chapter. This new chapter of a rescuing God, a redeeming God, a loving God, a God who provides, a God who stirs up the soul and gives God sized dreams and desires.

Two weeks and counting. Let the next chapter begin!

Tina