Grab your coffee and follow me over to the NEW location of All Things Bright and Beautiful
The house is shaking, swaying, swirling me into the sea of fear and doubt again. I thought we were done with this. It had been nearly been a year since the monstrous earthquake rocked my new country of residence and my self-set security.
I run to check on the baby, who had finally given up the bed-time battle but was now wide-awake, shocked and sweaty.
I pray a silent, stressed-out prayer. In my reality, I had run up the stairs. But my weary soul that dictates my steps ran them right to the Refuge I had never utilized as such until it was my last resort at rest. I’ve lived under His unshakeable shelter ever since. What else can I do?
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof (Psalm 46:1-3).
The quake that tips the Richter scale doesn’t hold a flickering candle to the power my God possesses.
I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust(Psalm 91:2).
I can weather the storms that will inevitably rage. Not because I’ve crafted a tempest-tested vessel, but because the Christ who humbly let death momentarily defeat him conquered it three days later.
His power walked His once lifeless body out of the tightly shut tomb, but His love for me kept Him shamefully still on the cross as His last breath escaped His colorless lips.
He’s my refuge.
And isn’t that the best kind of friend to have? A trustworthy treasure, a selfless safe place, a reliable Redeemer.
I can shoot a text to my BFF who may roll her eyes at my latest conundrum as she seeks to untangle the fears and temptations that weave tightly around her own soul. Or I can cling to the hand of my soul’s indweller as He leads me to my only true confidant, my best friend for eternity.
He’s been called a friend of sinners. And, rightfully so, since he’s a friend of mine. The benefits of this relationship so lavishly extended to me are as freeing as they are mind-blowing.
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:16-18).
He equips me, in His love, to live fearless and free resting in His refuge yet enabled in boldness that draws others in for an introduction. As I invite them into my safe place, I can trust that the Holy Spirit that guides my steps to the Cross time and time again will pull them in with power and grace that comes not from my weak attempts to convey His worth that speaks for itself.
I can’t force people into the Refuge or pressure them into a relationship with the most precious Friend they could ever have. But I can proclaim with unwavering faith forged in His providential power that He is the only One who can save us from death and set our feet on unshakeable ground.
Leave a comment about a time you’ve found Jesus to be your Refuge or Friend
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“I’ve been listening for a year and a half.
Listening to the sounds around me that started foreign and have become familiar. Listening to how my new friends describe the happenings around me and the meaning behind the holidays we celebrate in Nepal.
I constantly gather information, storing as much as my heart and mind can hold.
I haven’t spoken a lot. I think there are still some people who don’t realize I speak their language fairly well. I suppose I’ve gotten into the habit of just being, taking in all that is around me.
I’ve come to realize that’s not so bad a habit.
I’ve learned so much in the listening.
I’ve left room for others to share their hearts with me as I process what has been said and offer little in return save the listening. For fear of embarrassing myself in my language inadequacies, I avoid saying too much, but it turns out saying little is sometimes a gift.
It’s a gift to me, peacefully pondering all the words I’m trusted with, and quietly storing them in my heart. It’s saved me from turning conversations towards myself when they aren’t about me at all. It has allowed me to savor the sweet words, interpreted but not interrupted by my urge to punctuate the silence with quick drawn response.
It’s a gift to the speakers. They know I try to understand and take in all the meaning just to be nearer to knowing them. While often my listening is laced in a desire to learn and understand this language, the end result is the learning and knowing of another person.
Certainly that is a gift to us both.
Those who know me in my home country and in my first language may be surprised with how quiet I have become in a room full of people, how little attention I draw to myself. I still remember a high-school teacher referring to me as the girl who entered a room mouth first.
That’s not me anymore.
I’ve been freed from my big mouth to open ears. The space of listening is a home I’ve grown to love.”
Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God (James 1:18-20).
I’m over at Women Behind the Scenes today talking about my decision to put my 4 year old in pre-school in Nepal during their Back-to-School themed week! Make sure to check out the other posts this week for some insights on how God leads and provides in schooling ministry children over-seas.
Every morning around 9, I hear two long beeps from the end of the road. Even the baby has learned what this means by now, and he runs to get his shoes from the closet so he can accompany his sister to the yellow van we call “bus.” Many days, he tries to hop on with her, and the driver and helper on board laugh like it’s the first time.
Usually, my four year old pre-school student is eager to climb on and slide over next to one of her little friends whose names we are all still learning to pronounce. Some days, she asks to stay home with me and “have fun.” I tell her about all the laundry I have to do, and she decides craft time doesn’t sound so bad.
After moving to the other side of the world, and living through a natural disaster and subsequent shortages, we had watched our bright butterfly stow away and become more and more withdrawn. We thought, with time, she would re-emerge with a smile as bright as before.
But that day never came.
I fractured my tail-bone four years ago during the hours of labor that led to the arrival of one of my greatest joys, a spunky girl who’s always singing but who was, at that time, just a sunny-side up miracle.
As my daughter grew, the pain in my back-side lessened, and I imagined that things back there were healing properly. However, strapped to a stretcher a little over a year later, the pain was back and more intense than ever. I had hurt that tender spot again.
One still-birth and one live-birth later, I’m in a mess of pain most days. We bump along the poorly-made and poorly-cared for streets of Kathmandu, and I wince and bite back the complaints on the tip of my tongue.
I often think, this wound will never heal, as it is constantly chipped at again and again.
As we bumped along on the way back to a hotel today to say good-bye to grandparents headed back to America after a sweet but short visit, my focus was more on the pain in my heart than on the bone that bounced upon the back-seat.
The wound there was big and gaping when we left for Nepal last March. Over-time, it began to heal and was bandaged by Face-time chats and care packages. But with each visit and each goodbye, cracks I thought were long-ago sealed re-emerge.
The TLC delivered is so needed and is medicine for motivation. My heart is certainly more helped than hurt, yet I am left with the somber presence of this thought, “I guess this wound will never heal.”
I memorized The Road Not Taken as a senior in high-school, and though I can’t recall each line, the theme rattles in my head from time to time…
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Long ago, I pondered whether I would follow the path lovingly set by the Lord before me, or forge my own way, knowing which choice was the more popular of the two. Considering the sacrifice made by the One who went before me and made a way to meet God on my trail of self-seeking, the idea of following my own feet just wouldn’t settle in my soul.
Confident in the Lord who directed my steps, I set off on the less-traveled path. I delighted in the beginnings of my journey, as I knew I should. But when the path grew hard and lonely, darkened by death and disappointment, I wanted to back track.
This road would not diverge away from these obstacles, and turning back was an impossibility. I had to keep walking, knowing who walked with me, though I was not always aware of His presence.
There weren’t many who could have or would have walked with me on those paths. Though there are certainly ditches and trenches on every route, these circumstances were unique to my own, and I mainly maneuvered them alone. The dips and valleys many and fellow-walkers few, loneliness abounded, but just as at the time of my salvation from sin, grace did much more abound. The longer I follow Jesus, the happier I am on this path.
Not sure this is what Frost had in mind when he penned these words…
I shall be telling this with a sigh
I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Psalm 16:8-11).
As a student, I could wear it on a t-shirt or keep it in my back pocket to pull out as was convenient.
While raising support, I could pack it up and put in the back of our minivan and retrieve it to display alongside our family’s smiling faces and pressed attire.
When leaving the land of my birth, I zipped it up in a 50 pound bag and stowed it away, more burdened by the fragility of my small babies whose worlds were about to be rocked.
On the field, it became something else entirely, too heavy to handle on my own. The burden for the lost and dying. Those that hadn’t heard. I picked it up and put it away often when my residence was in America, but from now on it would be forever with me sitting on my chest and whispering in my ear, even as I slept.
It calls my name from the sides of the streets where naked babies play with a passed out parent on the sidewalk. It grabs my attention from the beautiful views of this land and draws it a darkness for which I can’t craft a comparison. I hear it in ringing bells and blowing seashells as my neighbors lift up their voices in dramatized prayer to their chosen gods.
The burden I shared while raising support for this ministry was real; don’t get me wrong…
“I was surprised at my automatic response to an SMS popping up on my phone late one evening. I realized that something had happened in my heart sometime over the last year of change after change in my unsettled life in Nepal, and I felt compelled to confess.
I told my friend of many years how I had distanced myself from those residing Stateside in some strange act of self-preservation. For some inexplicable reason, I had convinced myself it was just easier to do things this side of the world on my own. Like I had something to prove to myself that I was capable of handing the many curveballs thrown my way without the encouragement of friends and family.
Whoa, pride…Not cool!
The confession was difficult to release, and I immediately wanted to retract it. The dancing dots on the screen that told me she was crafting a response lingered for far too long and increased my anxiety about the situation at hand. But in true faithful friend fashion, she thanked me for my honesty and even affirmed my feelings despite how crazy they seemed to me.
I felt free to share, wholly accepted and loved. I had allowed the lonely moments and feelings of being forgotten overshadow the great blessing of the truly loyal, life-giving friends I have, and I had failed to return that great gift of loyalty from my side of the world.
This friends’ faithfulness shined a light on my own lack of loyalty to these invaluable treasures. I had excused myself from these friends’ lives because it just seemed easier, and maybe, in some ways it is.
But receiving the great gift of loyalty from a faithful friend makes me recognize its immeasurable value which I had been missing out on. What a great privilege it is to pass it on!”
This post is part of Five Minute Friday where many writers join together each week to write for freely Five Minutes on the same prompt and encourage each other along the way. Join the fun!
We had a team. We had all our support raised, ready to join our friends in India who were working endlessly at getting a fledgling little church off the ground and headed towards independence.
They had gone before us and blazed the trail, learned the ropes, made all the mistakes they could keep us from making ourselves. I remember always joking that they were our test dummies, and I was glad we didn’t have to pioneer the field of New Delhi on our own.
There were some behind us, following the path of fundraising and raising awareness about the need of our field. They would join our team of two families and we would link arms with one heart to reach the country of India. God would work in our midst, and, together, we could see Him doing something there. We had all dreamed together for years. We were just dying to see those dreams manifest in reality on the other side of the world.
But months trickled by, and as the pages turned on the calendar, we realized what we feared had come to fruition. We weren’t getting entrance into the country we longed to live and minister in.
We were devastated. We found it hard not to question God as he crumpled up our plans and crafted something entirely different. It still looked like a torn apart mess to us, but we trusted it would unfold into a legible, beautiful story one day. We were honored to be a part of it.
But…he sent us somewhere without a team. No one we had any ties to resided in this new (to us) country, Nepal. Not a single family was behind us, aiming to join our side a year or two later.
It was so difficult to say goodbye to the dream of a team and embrace this new role as pioneers for our board. We’ve been so blessed to meet some wonderful new friends here, and truly, we are working together to reach this country with the gospel.
But I miss our team. We had a Bible-inspired name and sweet little babies to grow up together.
Our team may only have 4 members, but they’re it. My tribe. My co-laborers. I know God will use this tiny team if we stop pining for more members and move forward alone, yet praying that God will add some bodies to the bench.
My kids don’t have ministry experience or much fundraising to speak of, but I believe they are an essential part to this team, and I know God will use Team Taube as we work together here for His glory.
Who’s on your team? How can we work together to reach the world?
Talk to me in the comment section below!
Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest (John 4:35).
I’m lifting up my eyes, I’m seeing the fields.
But I don’t see a lot of said white. Lord, give me your eyes.
Because what I see…
I see Hindus bowing to golden idols created by skilled craftsman.
I see Muslims faithfully answering the call to prayer.
I see Buddhists running fast fingers along brown beads, lisping secret prayers.
I see broken people torn apart by the sins of their own hands, and, some by the hands of others.
I don’t see hope. I don’t see harvest.
Give me your eyes. Let me see it.
I’ve gone. I’m here. I’m ready to harvest. The reaping day seems afar off, but I trust it’s here as You have said it is.
I’m lifting my eyes. Lord, make them like yours.
I’m lifting my hands, Oh, God, put them to work. Let me harvest something, anything, for You and I’ll be sure to give you all the praise for letting me see the ripe fruit, gather it, and give it back to You.”
And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together (John 4:36).
Rejoice with me!
Tell me about the harvest on the horizon or the harvest at hand in the comment section below!