Choosing Thankfulness — November 27, 2013

Choosing Thankfulness

Wow, looks like me and my friend Kelli were thinking the same thing today–even shared one of the same verses! I didn’t see hers until my draft was finished. Anyway.She says it much better than me here

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Thanksgiving, for me, this year is totally different than any other turkey day I have celebrated previously. Prior to this year, I had never experienced any truly HARD circumstances in my life. God had been incredibly gracious to not have allowed me to see financial hardship, death, health problems, or any kind of trauma in my bubble-wrapped life. It was easy to give thanks of a truly blessed, whole heart.

But this past year, all of that changed. Deputation rocked my scheduled, secured world. A car accident shook it to its core, and the loss of our second child then shattered what was left. After the loss, health issues remain along with a plethora of questions that won’t be answered this side of heaven. How do I give thanks from a burdened, broken heart?

In my Bible reading, I have been studying much about the life of the apostle Paul. This missionary was no stranger to hardship. In fact, it was much more a part of his lifestyle than ease was to mine. He was beaten, tortured, imprisoned, and left to die on several occasions. Yet, he CHOSE to be thankful in the midst of these unthinkable circumstances. He said, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

I would much rather if that verse had said, “In most things give thanks.” That would be much easier to swallow, but my God has a different, more perfect will for my life. And He wants me to give thanks, because He knows, in doing so, I have chosen the better. Is it the harder option? Absolutely! And I don’t quite see the fruit of this choice in its full extent, but I trust the Lord and His perfect will for my life.

This past year, more than ever, I have had to CHOOSE to be thankful. Naturally, it hasn’t come naturally in the midst of these tough circumstances. It hasn’t come in between waves of grief, it hasn’t come with the persistent back pain, and it hasn’t come without any prodding on my part. I have had to cultivate a heart of thankfulness. But as I prompted it out, it began to grow on its own, watered by the word and nourished by the light of the gospel.

This Thanksgiving, I will sit around the table with my family who are so precious to me. I will squeeze the sweet little babies that fill my empty arms. I will give thanks in everything. Or, at least, I will try!

Because with every day of life, God has given me a gift I don’t deserve. Beyond that, He has given me so much, done so much in my life, and filled my world with light and hope. I’m so thankful to be a child of the King, and I feel like I need a whole other blog to expound upon all the wonderful blessings for which I can give thanks to my loving Father.

God is so good!

 

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A Special Day — November 25, 2013

A Special Day

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Jolynn “praying”

Yesterday, we dropped into a church in our hometown. Much to my delight, a friend from high-school joined the service just as it began! I hadn’t seen her for many years, but I had kept up with her on Facebook. As a mom of three boys and a little princess on the way, she certainly has a lot to share! I patiently waited until the end of the service when I would be able to speak with her, and I enjoyed the preaching as I did!

At the end of the service, she went forward with her son as he made public the profession of faith that he had made just an hour before in his Sunday school class. The pastor handled the announcement because the precious seven year old was more than a little shy! His grandparents, mommy, and I were all crying happy tears. (I’m a sympathy crier. If you cry, I’ll cry…Please don’t take advantage of that!) It was such a wonderful moment.

A line formed to greet the happy little boy and “extend to him the right hand of fellowship” (I just love Baptist jargon). Despite Jolynn’s efforts to line-jump, we waited our turn to talk to the happy momma and our new little brother in Christ! She shared with me that she had been praying for his salvation since she was pregnant with him!

I was convicted because while I do pray for Jo’s salvation occasionally, I am not at all consistent with it. There is nothing I desire more than for my children to know and love the Lord, but unfortunately, my prayer life has not reflected that. I am encouraged all the more to seek the Lord and beg him for the salvation of my daughter’s soul (Lord know’s she’s a sinner–haha!). I can’t wait for the day when I will see my daughter understand the gospel and accept the free gift Jesus offers!

And I expect you all to cry with me!

The Face I Can’t Forget — November 8, 2013

The Face I Can’t Forget

I can still see his precious little face.
I see it at 5 a.m. before my eyes adjust to the darkness.
It’s been almost 6 months.
Seems like this shouldn’t happen anymore.
But how am I supposed to erase the memory of the perfect features that belonged to my sweet Ezra?

Eyes that never opened to see a sunny day.
Mouth that never smiled and cooed for parents’ joy.
Ears that never heard the words, “I love you” whispered from tickling teeth.
Nose that never inhaled the comforting aroma of mother’s embrace.
The cutest lil’ “Finney chin” he shares with his daddy’s family and his sister Jo.

I can’t forget it, but I don’t think I want to.

It’s hard to see his face sometimes, but most others it brings a smile to mine. Ezra Coleman was a precious gift from the hand of God. I would have preferred his life to linger on this earth, but my Jesus had other plans for my little guy. I can’t imagine the JOY on my baby boy’s face as he basks in Heaven’s glory…

As his eyes behold the indescribable glory of the Almighty God.
His mouth sings continuous praises to the King on the Throne.
His ears are filled with the sounds of a heavenly choir.
His nose is kissed by angels that keep him ’til Jesus calls his mommy home.
His chin rests on the breast of the Savior.

With the gift of motherhood came an innate desire for the absolute best for my babies. There’s nothing this mommy could give him that is better than what he is experiencing today. I never really appreciated being told that “he was in a better place,” because selfishly I wanted him here. But this heartbroken mommy knows there’s no better place to be than in the arms of Christ and I’m thankful that’s where I will find him someday. I will look into his precious face, and I will see Jesus, and the sorrow of my loss won’t even be a distant memory. Just the darkness of life vanished by the blazing light of eternal glory!

The gift of a ministry — August 10, 2013

The gift of a ministry

I’ve always been a dreamer, and I’ve long dreamed of serving God in BIG ways. I’ve specifically asked that God would use my passion for writing in HIs kingdom work. The answer to that plea, however, was not even close to what I had envisioned or ever would have dreamt up myself.

Though I wouldn’t realize it until a few days later, the answer came on the morning of May 14, as I lay heartbroken in an ultrasound room having received the news that the precious boy I had been carrying for 21 weeks was no longer thriving inside me. We shared the news with family but didn’t let it go much further for a little under 24 hours. I wanted my secret pain to be just that- secret.

I posted a status update on Wednesday morning, 8 hours after Ezra had been delivered and about 5 since we said our final goodbyes: I delivered our precious baby BOY (approximately 17 weeks gestational age) at 12:35 this morning. Sweet Ezra Coleman weighed 5.8 oz and was 7 in. long. We thank God for the gift of life, no matter how short, and we rejoice knowing our son is safe and whole in the arms of Jesus.

It was short and to the point. It communicated my heart at that time, but it didn’t express how painful the experience was. I wasn’t ready to make that public knowledge. Maybe I was putting up a strong front as I had done for my family. I spent much of my time making sure no one was uncomfortable, which, of course,in hindsight, I know was pointless. We were all hurting.

The next morning, when I woke up, along with tears came an idea that seemed like it had been planted in my head: I couldn’t keep this story of grace to myself. I had to write the ways that God was working as He was doing it or else He would never receive the glory that He deserves for sustaining us the way He did during this excruciating time in our lives.

So I wrote. Through tears, through doubts, and devastating grief. I wrote with family next to me, trying to comfort me, but nothing was as therapeutic as putting it down. Writing has always been a release for me. It made me recognize His hand in it all, put into words those He spoke to me, and accept what He had allowed in our life.

But that was not all I hoped for it. I wanted it to, first, bless the name of the Lord, who gives and takes away. I also wanted it to speak to those who had suffered loss or who were experiencing difficulty in their lives. I wanted it to say, “God is good. He knows our pain, and He will carry us.” Finally, I wanted it to speak to those who grieve that have no hope, that I have it only because I have Jesus Christ.

It was hard to do, but I wrote. And people read. People from many cultural, family, and religious backgrounds. I heard from many people whom I had never met who wrote to tell me they were touched by Ezra’s three part story. When Ezra was born, my ministry was born. And though, like his life, it may have been short lived, I am thankful it had its moment.

I will likely never have as many readers as I had those first few days after his birthday. I will probably never have the opportunity to influence like I did during that time, but I do know that I can minister to the heart of each mommy that suffers this kind of loss one heartbreaking case at a time. While my ministry was once many words in the public sphere, the words that mean the most will be the ones silently uttered to my Heavenly Father. I can pray for these women in a way that most people can’t. It may sound strange, but my loss paved the way to a dream come true!

If I had known that being used in a BIG way would mean MAJOR loss in my life, would I dare to dream? I’m afraid I would not. I’m just glad that God is the author of my story, and all He asks of me is to tell it!

 

Dirty, Old Shoes — August 3, 2013

Dirty, Old Shoes

One of the few downsides to living in a basement is the accumulation of moisture that sometimes occurs. Generally, this potential problem is easy to avoid or manage. However, after being gone for an entire month and leaving the apartment without light, air flow, or movement of any sort allowed for more than we would like to deal with.

Upon our 4 a.m. return after an all-night drive, we were greeted with the musty smell familiar to basement dwellers. We turned the lights on, only to find that many of our things had been overtaken with mold. We quickly grabbed Jo out of her bed where she had been resting for all of two minutes and got back on the road in search for a place to stay. We spent one night on church couches and the rest at the home of some wonderful missionary-friends of ours who graciously opened the home they rarely get to spend family time in!

The next several days were spent cleaning, doing laundry, and getting rid of the few things that were ruined. Some things, I deemed not worthy to be cleaned. I would say, “Those shoes aren’t that nice anyway. I’ll just pitch them!”

As I was looking for one of those pairs of shoes tonight while completing my outfit, I thought about how glad I am that the Lord didn’t treat me the way I treated that pair of shoes! I was a wicked sinner whose best was filthy rags, and He paid the ultimate price for my worthless soul as He spilled His life out on Calvary.

It wasn’t an easy win; my conversion was hard-earned, taking infinitely much more than the 5 minute scrubbing my slippers required. I was reconciled to a God that couldn’t look upon the filth of my sin through the selfless act of a perfect, spotless Lamb. I’m just so thankful He didn’t deem me unworthy to be saved, though I know that was the case. 

We are all dirty, old shoes, but He desires to purchase each of us and cleanse us with His precious blood and to keep us with Him forever in Heaven where we will be allowed to worship our gracious “shoe repairman” and lover of our souls for ever! 

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But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (I John 1:7)

I will never look at dirty, old shoes the same way again!

An Abundant Life — January 22, 2013

An Abundant Life

I am afraid sometimes we hear Bible verses throughout our lives, and they become more like a little cliche than a powerful truth in our lives. John 10:10 is a wonderful example of this that I fear.

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

If a poll was taken, and everyone was asked if they wished to live a full and meaningful life, I believe that nearly all of those polled would respond in the affirmative. We are created with a desire to live a purposeful life, and we are innately designed to seek out the good in life.

The sad reality is that many who actively seek meaning and purpose end up pursuing it through all the wrong avenues. They are deceived to believe that the things of this world can please them and bring ultimate satisfaction and meaning in their lives.

From working within the secular world for just a few years, I got to know some people who led very worldly lifestyles. The consequences of sin were DESTROYING their lives! They mocked my beliefs but would often share with me just how empty their lives were and how miserable they were as a result. I was able to share the love of Jesus with them and just how FULL he has made my life, but for reasons I will never understand, they carried on with their self-serving lifestyles… their miserable, empty lifestyles.

These coworkers would often poke fun at my expense and pick on me more often than not. Through it all, however, they would express envy for my lifestyle: my attitude, my relationship with my husband, my joy in the workplace. Even though they didn’t quite “get it,” they envied it.

I, on the other hand, pitied them, and I desperately wanted them to “get it,” to come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. I wanted them to experience the JOY that I have and the love has been lavished upon me! I am thankful for the abundant life I live in Jesus, and that I don’t have to go day to day living solely for myself and seeking gratification yet never attaining any. I know that ultimate satisfaction comes only through a relationship with my Savior Jesus Christ, and I am so thankful He paid the price on Calvary so I could live a full, wonderful life in communion with Him! I plan to spend my life in service to Him, and I pray He would keep my heart from the evil One who wants to destroy my purpose for the Lord!

I love Him more — January 17, 2013

I love Him more

On Tuesday, we traveled to Greenville, South Carolina to say goodbye to our dear friends, Jim and Autumn Roberts. Jim and Autumn are the first members of the Come and See India team to leave for New Delhi! We are so thrilled for them to start this exciting journey and begin this work we are confident God will do great and mighty things through. We are also thankful they are going ahead and figuring it all out for us first! 🙂 We just love our “test dummies!”

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Autumn has been such an encouragement to me with her sweet spirit and attitude about their departure. She has had to give away most of her earthly possessions, pack what was left, say goodbye to her family and friends, and board a flight to a destination that is mostly unknown. I think it is safe to imagine that she was (and is) scared, heartbroken, and hurting. But the thing she continued to say both audibly in her words and silently through her gentle, quiet spirit was, “I love HIM more!”

More than her earthly possessions, than her family, her friends, her security, her stability, her comfort. More than her own life! Can I say this? Can I honestly say, “I love Him more” than all of these things I believe are inherently mine? I can sing, “He is ALL I need” till I am blue in the face, but does my heart believe it? Wait a minute…Does Autumn know something I don’t know?

No, the Bible tell us all that He is good, that He is faithful, that He is our comfort and our joy. Will I claim His promises and accept His grace today? Tomorrow? When my plane leaves the ground headed for the unknown? I must. If I want my life to mean anything for the Lord, I must love Him more.

I can love Him more because He IS more! He offers more wealth than any amount of worldly possessions, more love than all my friends and family, more comfort and security than my safe-guarded life, and more stability than my immaculate schedule. He really is ALL I NEED! I can truly say, “I love Him more.” I can live solely dependent on His grace and goodness. I am looking forward to the opportunity on its grandest scale, but I can live in light of its truth today. When we don’t get home until 2:30 a.m., when the love offering doesn’t meet our needs, when we are away for weeks at time. I love my comfort zone in the realm of the known, but I love Him more!

This attitude will not only be beneficial to me and a blessing to those around me, it will be an act of obedience to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Jesus said to him, “‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38)

He sure does have my best interest in mind when He asks me to obey, and He gives me great reason to love Him more! Thankful for His sufficient grace, and that He truly is ALL I NEED!

I Love to Learn! — December 18, 2012

I Love to Learn!

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I have written before on how I chose marriage and ministry over receiving my Bachelor’s degree and pursuing a different career “of my own.” While I have always believed I had made the right decision, at times, I have felt like I had given up on one of my biggest loves: learning. However, God, who knows my heart better than anyone, is just so faithful, and He has made sure that quite the opposite is true! I have learned more in the last 3 years living for the Lord than I believe I EVER would have sitting in a classroom, perusing college textbooks, and pulling all-nighters cramming my head full of knowledge I would likely soon forget! To God be the glory, too, because this learning has not only changed the processes in my head, but it has also forever changed my HEART!

I am incredibly thankful for those who have taken the time to teach me and to nurture my love for learning and my love for the Lord. I know He has placed these people in my life to mold my heart to look a little more like His!

I am also extremely grateful for the opportunities to learn in service to Him. In the last couple of years, I have been able to serve as a lay-person in the church, a youth workers’ wife, a missionary wife on deputation, and as a mommy to a precious little gift from God. Often, I fall smack dab on my face in my attempts to minister to those around me and to live a life in service to the Lord, but those are the times I learn the most! The journey is just beginning; I will forever be a “freshman” in learning about my God and how to serve Him best!

Finally, I am thankful for a God that will forever be a mystery. I can never learn all there is to know about Him, and I can never learn all the truths He has planted deep within His great Book, the Bible! My work is cut out for me!

I am just THRILLED to be on a journey of life-long learning! In the next few years, I will learn more and more about my roles as a wife and mother and as a helper to my husband on the mission field. I will learn how to thrive in another culture and how to speak another language! I will learn to depend on the Lord in ways many people will never have to, and I hope He finds me faithful “to teach others also!” (2 Tim. 2:22).

We Will Remember — October 13, 2012

We Will Remember

We heard this song for the first time at Grace Baptist Church in Morganton, NC. The first time they sang it, we were all so blessed, they sang it again! I think during the missions conference they performed it at least 4 or 5 times. The music minister sent us home with a cd of it, and we can’t stop listening to it! It’s just awesome to think about what the Lord has done in our lives!

This version is a little bit more jazzy…still good!

 

I still remember the day You saved me
The day I heard You call out my name
You said You loved me and would never leave me
And I’ve never been the same

Hallelujah!

Good things — October 24, 2011

Good things

I feel like there is a lot of pressure on a first blog post, but I am just gonna keep it simple. There are a few reasons why I wish to begin and, fingers crossed, keep up with a blog.

1) I feel like I am leaving some family/friends “out of the loop” on all things pregnancy, ministry, and other happenings in Taubeland. I find myself saying often, “Didn’t I tell you that?”

2) The length of my Facebook statuses is a little ridiculous.

3) My heart is full, and I can’t keep quiet. The Lord is blessing and teaching me, and I really want to share with others what He is doing in my life. Additionally, I want to keep these thoughts fresh on my mind and heart so I can continually be reminded of His wonderful ways of provision and care in my life.

Hopefully, this time, I don’t get caught up in analyzing every post, scrutinizing every detail hoping I communicate myself in a way that would be entertaining and, even, impressive to the reader. Instead, I want to focus on sharing my heart and my love for the Lord and communicating myself in a way that brings glory to Him.

Finally, I know that in order to do this, I must filter my thoughts and my words through Philippians 4:8.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

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